SM All Saints ordered to stop religion-based segregation

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Education and Innovation Ministry has ordered Sekolah Menengah (SM) All Saints Likas to stop its move to segregate Form One students to different classes based on their religion.

The directive issued after its minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob and Sabah Education deputy director Datuk Dr Mohd Kassim Mohd Ibrahim visited the school today and met with the school’s principal Dr Mary Gambidau.

Yusof, at a press conference after the meeting, said the school management’s move to segregate the Form One students based on their religions must stop immediately and to return to the previous method.

Hence, he said the issue was resolved with the school principal acknowledging her mistakes of implementing the move without taking into account of other issues.

“This issue is small and we have resolved it by taking into account that us the Sabahans, have to understand the strength of our unity lies on the harmonious aspect of life without being separated by racial and religious differences.

Earlier this month, parents submitted a petition to the Education Ministry pertaining to the issue involving Form One students at the school.

In the petition, students’ parents claimed that in January, school principal had segregated the Form One students according to their religions – four classes for non-Muslim students and two classes for Muslim students – and the arrangement was supposed to be in place for the next three years.

The old method used for Form Two to Five students was that there were six mixed classes and during the Moral Education or Islamic Religion periods, students would enter the class according to the subject taken.

Asked if any action was taken against the principal, Yusof said no action was taken against her as the issue was resolved amicably.

He called on parents of Form One students at the school to stop worrying as his ministry and the Ministry of Education at the federal level were concerned about this and would seek solutions.

He said what important was harmonious relationships in the school to be strengthened again in the future. – Bernama