Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Oldest schools in Malaysia

As a follow-up to my story on Penang's oldest schools, here is my non-exhaustive list of some of the oldest secondary schools in the country which were established before the Second World War and still in existence today. For the sake of comparison, I've also included the schools from Penang. Is there any school that I may have inadvertently left out? Please let me know.

[Editorial note: This post has been edited on 23 Mar 2018 following an unauthorised circulation in Whatsapp without a proper acknowledgment of the source.]
Penang Free School (established 1816)
Malacca High School (established 1826)
St. Thomas’ Secondary School, Kuching (established 1848)
St. Mary's School, Kuching (established 1848)
St. Xavier’s Institution (established 1852)
Convent Light Street (established 1852)

Infant Jesus Convent, Melaka (established 1860)
St. Luke School, Sri Aman (established 1863)
St. Francis Institution, Melaka (established 1880)
St. Teresa’s School, Kuching (established 1881)
St. Mary's School, Sandakan (established 1883)
King Edward VII School, Taiping (established 1883)
St. George’s Girls' School (established 1884)
St. Michael’s School, Sandakan (established 1888)
Treacher Methodist Girls' School, Taiping (established 1889)
St. Michael's School, Penampang (established 1890)
Methodist Boys’ School (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese School) (established 1891)
Methodist Girls’ School (established 1892)
SM Methodist ACS (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese School), Klang (established 1893)
Bukit Bintang Girls' Secondary School, Kuala Lumpur (established 1893)
Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur (established 1893)
St. Joseph’s School, Kuching (established 1894)
SM Methodist ACS (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese Boys' School), Ipoh (established 1895)
Methodist Girls' School, Ipoh (established 1895)
Methodist Girls’ School, Kuala Lumpur (established 1896)
Methodist Boys’ School, Kuala Lumpur (established 1897)
Clifford School, Kuala Kangsar (established 1897)
SMK Methodist Nibong Tebal (Anglo-Tamil School) (established 1898)
St. Paul's Institution, Seremban (established 1899)
Convent Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur (established 1899)
Convent Taiping (established 1899)
Horley Methodist Secondary School, Teluk Intan (established 1899)
St. Mark's Secondary School (formerly known as Butterworth English School) (established 1901)
High School Muar (established 1902)
Sacred Heart School, Sibu (established 1902)
St. Theresa’s Convent, Taiping (established 1903)
SM Methodist ACS (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese School), Kampar (established 1903)
SMK Methodist ACS (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese School), Sitiawan (established 1903)
All Saints School, Kota Kinabalu (established 1903)
Chung Hwa Confucian High School (孔聖廟中華中學) (established 1904)
St. John's Institution, Kuala Lumpur (established 1904)
Convent Canossian, Ujong Pasir (established 1905)
Malay College Kuala Kangsar (established 1905)
Confucian Private Secondary School (尊孔獨立中學), Kuala Lumpur (established 1906)
Sung Siew Secondary School (雙修中學), Sandakan (established 1907)
Convent Ipoh (established 1907)
Sultan Yussuf School, Batu Gajah (established 1907)
SMK Methodist ACS (Anglo-Chinese School), Parit Buntar (established 1907)
Mahmud School, Raub (established 1908)
Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star (established 1908)
Kuen Cheng High School (坤成中學), Kuala Lumpur (established 1908)
Anderson School, Ipoh (established 1909)
SMK Methodist ACS (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese School), Melaka (established 1910)
Port Dickson High School (established ~1910)
Keat Hwa Secondary School (吉華國民型華文中學), Alor Star (established 1911)
Sulaiman English School, Bentong (established 1912)
St. David’s High School, Melaka (established 1912)
St. Michael's Institution, Ipoh (established 1912)
St. Mary's School, Kuala Lumpur (established 1912)
Foon Yew High School (寬柔中學), Kulai (established 1913)
Pay Fong High School (培風中學), Malacca (established 1913)
High School Batu Pahat (established 1914)
English College Johor Bahru (now known as Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar) (established 1914)
Pudu English Girls' School, Kuala Lumpur (established 1914)
SMK Methodist ACS (formerly known as Anglo-Chinese School), Seremban (established 1915)
St. George's Institution, Taiping (established 1915)
SMK Agama Al-Mashoor (established 1916)
Kuching High School (古晉高級國民型中學) (established 1916)
Chung Ling High School (鍾靈中學) (established 1917)
St. Patrick's Secondary School, Tawau (established 1917)
Yu Hua National Type Secondary School (加影育華國民型中學), Kajang (established 1918)
Jit Sin High School (日新國民型中學) (established 1918)
SMK St. George (formerly known as St. Anthony’s School and Balik Pulau English School) (established 1918)
Penang Chinese Girls High School (檳城檳華女子國民型中學) (established 1919)
SM Ibrahim (formerly known as Ibrahim English School), Sungai Petani (established 1919)
Infant Jesus Convent Teluk Intan (established 1919)
Kajang High School (established 1919)
Methodist Girls' School, Klang (established 1924)
SMK Tunku Besar, Tampin (established 1924)
Infant Jesus Convent, Johor Bahru (established 1925)
Segamat High School, Segamat (established 1926)
High School Bukit Mertajam (established 1927)
Union High School (協和國民型中學) (established 1928)
Convent Klang (established 1928)
King George V School, Seremban (established 1928)
High School Klang (established 1928)
St. Theresa's English School, Sungai Petani (established 1929)
SMK Convent Butterworth (established 1930)
St. Andrew's School (蔴坡市聖安德魯男子學園), Muar (established 1930)
Kolej Vokasional Batu Lanchang (established 1931)
St. Anthony's School, Telok Intan (established 1931)
SMK St. Anthony, Sarikei (established 1932)
Convent Father Barre’s, Sungai Petani (established 1933)
St. Patrick's School, Kulim (established 1933)
SMK Convent Bukit Mertajam (established 1934)
Convent Kulim (established 1934)
Convent St. Nicholas, Alor Star (established 1934)
St. Michael School, Alor Star (established 1934)
SMJK Convent Dato’ Kramat (established 1935)
Phor Tay High School (菩提國民型華文中學) (established 1935)
SMK Agama Al-Irshad (established 1936)
Maktab Sultan Ismail (formerly known as Ismail English School), Kota Bharu (established 1936)
Convent Ave Maria, Ipoh (established 1938)
Convent Kajang (established 1939)
Kluang High School (established 1939)
Sarikei High School (formerly known as Hwa Chiew High School) (established 1939)
SMJK San Min (三民國民型中學), Teluk Intan (established 1939)
Convent St. Joseph’s, Sentul (established 1940)
Convent Sentul, Kuala Lumpur (established 1940)
© Quah Seng Sun



Where is Sekolah Kebangsaan Ampangan (Seremban)?

It's supposedly established sometime before 1887

SS Quah said...

Is Sekolah Kebangsaan Ampangan (Seremban) a primary or secondary school? If it is a primary school, I cannot list it here.

C K Chong said...

I believe you have left out schools in Johore, i.e. Muar High School, English College, Johore Bahru

SS Quah said...

English College Johore Bahru is listed already. But I shall add in Muar High School too (1902). Thank you for pointing out.

Anonymous said...

Why the heck Kota Kinabalu High School are not in the list? It is because the school was established in 1949?

SS Quah said...

Yes, can't you read properly? I said "before the Second World War" in the very first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

SS Quah, you have provided valuable information. This is really a historical account of education in Malaya. Thank you.

In these time when history gets glossed over or not acknowledged, this information reminds us, particularly to young ones, that Malaya did exist, quality education (albeit in English) was provided to all Malayans. Malaya had some of the best schools, teachers and quality students in SE Asia. I salute all those utterly dedicated and committed teachers (including nuns and brothers) who laid the foundation to a thriving Malaya and Malaysia.

Unknown said...

SMK St. Mary's Kuala Lumpur. Established 1912

9w2pck said...

Just to share.... Tunku Besar School Tampin was established in 1924 as GES (Government English School .. Then changed to TBS in 1957.

SS Quah said...

Thank you. Both St Mary's school and SMK Tunku Besar have been added.

Keang said...

These schools could be added to your list. Do verify before adding them in.

TQ for making a list of the oldest school in M'sia. BTW, I'm from St. Francis' Institution, Malacca.


St George's Girls' School in Penang, established 1884

SMK St. Teresa in Sarawak, established 1885

Anglo-Chinese Girls' School in Perak, established 1897

Foon Yew High School in Kulai, Johor, established 18 May 1913

Pay Fong High School in Malacca, established 1913

Beh said...

Thanks for compiling the list.

I'd like to add on my alma mater which is SMK Ibrahim (previously known as Government English School). It was established in 1919, located in Sungai Petani, Kedah. =)

Thank you! =)

Anonymous said...

The oldest school in Penang & all Malaysia is actually St Xavier's Institution which was founded by the Catholic Bishop Garnault in 1787! It was then known as the Catholic Free School & was on Church Street, George Town. The Catholic Diocese ran the school until 1852 when the Order of the Christian Brothers (LaSallian Brothers) took over & renamed it St Francis Xavier Free School. The LaSallian Brothers then acquired a larger piece of land on Farquhar St & built a bigger school there which opened in 1858 & was renamed St Xavier's Institution. The 1852 date you listed only refers to the date the LaSallian Brothers took over the school & not its actual founding date.

SS Quah said...

SMK Ibrahim has now been added. Will look into Keang's list once I can verify the dates.

SS Quah said...

Sorry, you are mistaken, Anonymous. In 1787, Fr Domino Arnaud-Antoine Garnault provided for the denominational education of the children of his parish by setting up a vernacular school to teach the natives in their native tongue. After Penang Free School was established in 1816 to teach in English (thereby acknowledged as the oldest English school in Malaysia), some parents of the Roman Catholic faith began sending their children there for their formal education. Only at the end of 1825 was the Catholic Free School formed under Fr Jean-Baptiste Boucho. The Catholic Free School was the precursor of the present-day St Xavier's Institution.

Neoh Soon Heng said...

Ha ha good one

Keang said...

Interestingly, "St. Francis Institution had its early beginning in 1872 when it was known as St. Mary’s School. In 1880 the school shifted to a two-storey building which is across the road in front of St. Francis' Church and was renamed St. Francis Institution..."

So which date is the correct one? :)

Source =


SS Quah said...

Keang, regarding the St Francis Institution, I followed the information in Wikipedia. :-P

Anonymous said...

Hi Keang, it would appear that the school now known as St Francis Institution did begin as St Mary's School in 1872. The founding date of SFI is therefore 1872 as there was no break in the school's operational continuity, name changes notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

SS Quah - I helped the late Rev Bro Charles Levin in researching into the history of St Xavier's Institution which he was writing but did not finish before he died. He showed me original documents pertaining to the founding of the school in 1787 using Malay as a medium of instruction but run by the Roman Catholic Church as the first Catholic mission school in Malaysia. There was mo break in the school operation from 1787 to 1852 when the LaSallian Brothers took over & renamed it St Francis Xavier Free School at first & in 1858, St Xavier's Institution (SXI). When Bro Charles died I could not return to Penang in time to secure his research, supporting original documents & unfinished manuscript which were presumably deposited into the archives of the Order of the Christian Brothers as the school's archives do not have them. I note that you have also agreeed to the founding year of the Malay-medium school on Church St, Penang which became known as the Catholic Free School & finally SXI. There was no break in the continuity of the school from its founding in 1787, changes to school name & medium of instruction notwithstanding, right up to the present day SXI. I will publish the foundation documents as soon as I can retrieve them. I have the motivation to do so now after a hiatus, in order to correct the widespread misconceptions about the ultimate founding date of SXI.

Andrew Hwang said...

SS Quah - Please clarify. Your blog is on the "Oldest schools in Malaysia", not the oldest English schools. Yet, you seem to imply that St Xavier's Institution is disqualified from claiming descent from Bishop Garnault's Malay-medium school on Church St, Penang founded in 1787 looking at the way you have highlighted in bold the word "vernacular" in your reply above.
Are you perhaps motivated to do this because you are an alumnus of some other school claiming an older pedigree? Please be transparent & clarify. Thank you.

Andrew Hwang said...

This is not very detailed but it is accurate:

Keang said...

Hi guys,

Andrew brought up a good point whether the title should be "Oldest schools in Malaysia" or "Oldest English schools in Malaysia".

If it's the former, surely the schools conducted in the native language(s) are the oldest ones, maybe pre-Portuguese times, and if it's the latter, then certain Chinese, Tamil or BM/Islamic language achools have to be excluded from this list, unless if English is taught as a subject.

It's a tricky thing BUT it's a start.

Cheers. :)

SS Quah said...

Anonymous, I shall welcome your attempt on research. We need to shed more light on the history of early education in Penang, especially, if as you say, there was continuity in the school's operation from 1787 till 1852.

Andrew Hwang, there shouldn't be a dispute that Fr Domino Garnault's school that started in 1787 was a vernacular school teaching in the native Malay tongue to the children of his parish. Garnault's transition from Siam in 1781 to Port Queda (Kedah) in 1782 before crossing into Prince of Wales' Island in 1786 is a fact. Having spent at least six or seven years in this part of the world, he knew the Malay tongue well enough to teach in his vernacular denominational schools. But to say that I was motivated to highlight the word 'vernacular' is mischievious, to say the very least!

SS Quah said...

This debate will never end. Everyone can have their own points of view but they must be substantiated by references to reliable sources. One source which I use is the book by acknowledged local historian Marcus Langdon. In his book 'Penang: the fourth presidency of India 1805-1830 Vol 2', he mentioned that the Catholic Free School was a new school. I would place its formation at end of 1825 or start of 1826.

Anonymous said...

Hi Quah, Fr Boucho switched the medium of instruction of the Catholic Mission school (speculation - was it called Assumption School?) from Malay to English as the Eurasians & other Catholics desiring their children to have an education in English began sending their children to the Penang Free School (estb.1816) on Farquhar St which was run by the Anglican Church. Quite a few of these Catholic children ended up being converted to Anglicanism instead! To prevent further losses from his flock, Fr Boucho decided to match the Penang Free School & renamed the Catholic mission school the Catholic Free School. This was mentioned in the documents previously in the late Bro. Charles Levin's possession.

SS Quah said...

Dear Anonymous (I wish you'd identify yourself), yes, I'm well aware of that fact and the little incident that caused the Catholic Free School to be set up. And I would love to look at the late Brother Charles' documents too, if it would be at all possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi Quah, please check your Facebook Messenger account. I have sent you a long message. I am happy to show the documents to you (or copies of them) after I secure them.