Thursday, January 24, 2013

Westlands Secondary School or SMK Westlands

Westlands Secondary School or SMK Westlands

Westlands Secondary School or SMK Westlands (1957),is  located at No.3, Jalan Khaw Sim Bee,Penang. It was an English school established in 1957, mainly taking students from Westlands Primary School and other English primary schools in the city. Later the school also started remove classes for students from Chinese primary school, Malay primary schools and Tamil primary schools.

The school was established just before Malayan independence in 1957.  How did the school obtained its name?

The name may be named after the more older and established primary school, Westlands School or Westlands Primary School (SK Westlands). Westlands School was probably established around 1921/1922(?), but now the school had been closed due to poor enrollment.  How did Westlands School get its name? There is Westlands Road  around the area, Westlands Road is very common road name in commonwealth countries.

From the Kelly Map in the year 1893, the area opposite Pykett School, Pykett Avenue(not exist), Burmah Road, Westland Road (not exist) was called "Westlands" .  There was also bungalows called Westlands Bungalow, some called it Westlands House. Obviously the Westlands School is named after the name of the area. Noticed there was no “Westlands Road” in 1893,  the row of houses is still not built in the area. The area is mainly bungalows. But there is a bungalow called “Westlands”. This proved that the area may be named Westlands, even before the building of the Westlands Road, and Westlands School.  The  road and the school(Westlands School ) are probably named after the place,  Westlands.

1957 – Westlands  Secondary School was opened  in January 1957, with only 4 classes of Form 1 drawn from various primary schools in Penang , and  two Form2  Vocational classes from Francis Light School.  There were 7 teachers, initially with Mr Hooi Yip Hoong, the Headmaster of Westlands School as acting headmaster of  the school. Later Mr A William, an Australian became the Headmaster, and held the post for only 5 months. He was succeeded by  Mr Ooi Khay Bian in the same year.  The initial aim of the school was to serve as  a secondary vocational school. However with the introduction of standardized syllabus for the secondary school after Malayan  independence , the  plan for a vocational secondary school was dropped.  The standard type of the general secondary education was adopted. LCE or Lower  Certificate of Education was introduced as lower secondary school’s examination, FMC Exam(Federation of Malaya Certificate of Education) for Form 5 Malay medium students, QT(Qualifying Test) for repeated students, OSC(Oversea Cambridge School Certificate) for English medium students.
1958 – Mr Lim Boon Hock took over as Headmaster, and the school prepared the students for LCE Exam.  The school started as a center for 10 Further Education Classes(Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Westlands)  from 6 p.m. to 9p.m., from Monday to Friday. The classes continued until 1963, when they were transferred to Georgetown Secondary School. The school  premise was also make use by the Continuation Classes in the afternoon, there were 7 classes.  However they were separate entity.

1959- Datuk Salleh Hussein who was headmaster from 1959-1966. It was the only government secondary school  which have Malay as headmaster.  The school has become a complete lower secondary school offering LCE.

1960- Form 4 class was started.  SRP or Sijil Rendah Perlajaran exam was introduced(until it was abolished in 1993, and replaced by Penilaian Menengah Rendah or PMR ). LCE remained for English school.

1961- The school offered candidates  for  SC  for the first time, and become a complete secondary school with 17 classes and total enrollment of 650 pupils. The curriculum consisted of academic and vocational subjects.  The first to introduce Malay secondary education in the state, four years after its establishment in 1957. It becomes a two medium school. They were 2 Malay medium class with 30 pupils. They were boys and girls selected from Malay Primary Schools from Georgetown, Butterworth and other schools in PW.

1962 – A new block consist of 4 classrooms was constructed.  The FMC Examination in Malay Medium was taken for the first time.

1963 – 22 classes with pupil enrollment of 840 pupils, 97 were girls.

1964- The two language stream however only last 3 years, because the Malay medium students were moved to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jalan Residensi   in 1964. The school however still make use of the Science Laboratories and the classrooms on Saturday and Sunday.  The  girls were transferred to St George’s Girls’ School.  The school become a smaller school with 18 classes and enrolment of 708 pupils.  The school become one medium  school and a boy school.  The first issue of school magazine  appeared in May 1964. It was 50 pages and was called “Maju”(literally means Progess  or Forward in Malay).
FMC was abolished and MCE or Malaysian Certificate of Education was introduced to replace FMC.  SPM for the Malay schools. 

1965 – The 4th form was removed. The students who passed their LCE will continued the 4th Form in St Xavian Institution(SXI).

1966- When the Malay medium class was moved to the new school. Datuk Salleh Hussein was transferred to the school.  Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jalan Residensi   was renamed  Sekolah Abdullah Munshi in 1966, he remained as headmaster until his retirement in 1969.  Mr MSR  Ambrose , a senior teacher  from Penang Free School, was appointed as headmaster of Westlands Secondary School to replace  En Salleh.  The school had grown to 22 classes with enrollment of  600 students.  The last two Form 5 classes sat for their SC Exam and FMC Exam(Federation of Malaya Certificate of Education)

1967 – The school again become a lower secondary school.

1968- OSC(Oversea Cambridge School Certificate) abolished

1969 – One Leng Gin was appointed as headmaster from Dec 1969. Form 4 classes started to conduct again.

1970 – The Form 5 class took the MCE  Exam and the school again become a complete secondary school. In 1970, it was stipulated that a candidate must have the minimum of a 'pass' in Bahasa Malaysia (as the National Language was then named), in order to qualify for the school-leaving certificate called the MCE or Malaysian Certificate of Education.

1972 – The Form 5 student  took their  MCE Examination under the new syllabus that Malay is a compulsory pass . Many students failed the Malay language subject in 1972, even  students  from  the top schools  all over Malaysia. Pillai (1973:16) reported that in 1972 more than half the English medium pupils failed to obtain the MCE despite performing well in other subjects. The large number of failures served to remind the public of the earnestness of the government to implement the national language policy.

1976- MCE taken over by the local Examination Syndicate. Malay as medium of instruction for Form1 started in all secondary school. Up to 1978, GCE examinations in Malaysia were conducted by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, when two agencies of the Malaysian Ministry of Education took over the role with UCLES retaining an advisory role on standards.

1982- HSC or Higher School Certificate Cambridge  abolished, STPM took over.

1983- LCE abolished

1987 – SPM held throughout Malaysia, MCE Abolished

1990- Lim Chin Kee joined as headmaster in June 1990. Westlands  was all  boys’  school  since 1964 until December 1990, and when 37 girls were admitted. Westlands become co-educational school again.

1992 – Choong  Hean Chuan was appointed as Headmaster

Westlands  secondary school famous alumni
1.      Datuk Yong Soo Heong, Editor-in-chief and acting GM, Bernama. Yong, who holds a diploma in business journalism from the Centre for Foreign Journalists in Virginia, USA, joined Bernama as a cadet reporter in 1974. He was the agency's Economic Service editor from 2000 before his promotion to Bernama Economic Service executive editor on Aug 1, 2004.
2.      YB Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, state assemblyman for N37  Batu Maung  in the 2008 general election. He was appointed  The State Minister for Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs, Penang.
3.      Tang Kye Kian, lawyer, who started his legal career with Lim 30 years when he was bright-eyed legal eagle described Lim as a true community leader."I was 22 when I returned from England and joined Kean Siew's legal firm. Tang who also served as a municipal councillor and continued working with Lim when he won the Pengkalan Kota state seat in the 1980 by-election following the death of CY Choy."I branched out after working with him for five years.
4.      Saw Hai Earn, founder and CEO of Pacific West
5.  Assoc Prof Ng Heong Wah, Associate Professor, Division of Engineering Mechanics , School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering , College of Engineering, NTU, Singapore
6. Dato' Ir. Ho Phea Keat, Managing Director of Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd., Pahang
7. Captain Chin Kon Wing, Manager, Operation & Training, Petroleum Industry of Malaysia Mutual Aid Group
Note: Hope readers can help to provide latest updates on the name of Headmaster
New Strait Times, August 30th 1992, When it was Westland to start with,,5426570

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