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ImageWith all our schools nationalized since the early 70's, having our own private Lasallian college/university of learning has been the aspiration of the majority of the past students of the Brothers’ schools in Malaysia. This is often a hot topic for discussion at alumni’s social events … and has been for a long time.

ImageThe spirit soared when in 2002, the De La Salle Institute (DLSI for short), an English language institute set up by the Brothers in the mid nineties was methodically being transformed into a not-for-profit tertiary institution to offer diploma courses in a number of disciplines. In its two years of full operation, dozens of financially-challenged students passed through its portal and thus carved out a better life for their families. Unfortunately, it had to curtail its operation due to the lack of effort to raise funds to continue its operation. DLSI had no choice but to close its doors.

Over the years, many alumni have been expressing their grave concerns for the future of our 159-year heritage. Many expressed the need for the setting up of a private Lasallian school as an essential step to preserve our rich legacy for posterity. The views expressed by “Signum Fide Joe” below reflect the sentiments of the alumni in general … aspirations and hope for our own private Lasallian school/college.
Quote:
I would like to comment further on what Mr Nicholas Ravi had written in the Aug 8 issue (Vol 17) of The Herald and also on the article titled: La Sallians – An Endangered Species that appeared in the e-Lasallian Family website.

Mr Ravi started by saying that Malaysia being an educational hub, why is not the government concern in starting up a Catholic University in Malaysia. I would like to start by saying, “charity begins at home”. We have all heard the saying. When charity can't even being at home how can we expect the government to help us? It should be our initiative first before we ask for external help. The idea would be beneficial for all Malaysians (as demonstrated by the La Salle Brothers’ contribution since 1852) if we, the La Sallian alumni in Malaysia take the initiative to start our very own private College/University.

Before I proceed I would like to say that I was the coordinator of the De La Salle Institute (DLSI), the only Lasallian tertiary education institution in Malaysia at one time. DLSI ceased its operations in 2005 mainly due to inability to receive funding from the establishment that pledged to support it.

ImageDe La Salle Institute (DLSI) was started by the La Salle Brothers of Malaysia as a Language Centre in 1994, mainly catering to the teaching of languages such as English, French and Bahasa Malaysia.. Located in the vicinity of St John's Secondary School in Kuala Lumpur, DLSI was also providing tuition to the S John's students in subjects like English, English Literature and Bahasa Malaysia.

In 2003 DLSI started academic courses such as the Association of Business Executive (ABE) at Certificate, Diploma and Advanced levels. There was also the Diploma course in Computer Science, a 2-year programme.

         

DLSI was targeted to be a College University in ten (10) years’ time, and another ten (10) years to gain full University Status. The CEO was a prominent educationist who is also an adjunct professor in another University. He was also the founder of another University College here in KL. The Vice Principal was a lecturer in one of the local Universities in Malaysia. We had an English Language Department in which Students from China, clergies, Brothers,  Associates, and students from all over the world came and studied the English Language there. If DLSI was still in operations it could serve as a centre for  many to refresh their English Language as most enrolled students are from the Bahasa Malaysia medium and speakers of other mother tongues.

ImageOur English Language Teachers are fully qualified and among the best in town.  DLSI was already an education hallmark on its own right with the La Salle Brothers providing holistic education through its 60 odd schools in the land dating back to 1852. Its corporate clients include the Malaysian National Corporations (MNCs) and the Government-linked Corporations (GLCs)

ImageYears before, DLSI also conducted a post graduate course in Counselling Psychology in collaboration with the De La Salle University, Manila, one of the top universities in Asia for counseling courses. Many of the students (later as graduates) for this programme were working adults.

The DLSI College ceased operation in 2005 and its licence expired in Dec 2007. I helped  renew it just in case.  It was not an easy task. As soon as words got out that DLSI’s  licence was renewed, numerous take-over offers were received from  other colleges, individuals, certain La Sallian alumni to give it a new lease of life.

One very interesting offer was from a Catholic Society that reaches out to the less fortunate. They wanted to manage DLSI to help the under privileged students who completed their secondary education (SPM/STPM). They wanted to continue to run the diploma programmes which DLSI was conducting. However their offer was turned down.

In short, we had it all going but then threw it all down the drain. Indonesia, and the Philippine, all have their own Catholic Universities. The Methodists have a similar College (in KL?) as DLSI and is very successful with three types of Pre-University programmes. I have to send my children there now as I have no Lasallian college to send them to.

I am not far wrong if I come to the conclusion that the Brothers and the Lasallian power-that-be have lost their vision and the will in wanting to preserve our 158-year education heritage for posterity!  How else can one think when one only hears vocal rhetoric for the past decades but see no conclusive actions? ….. Unquote

Editor’s Note:
The views expressed are entirely the writer’s. We reserve our comments after verifying the points so stated.

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