An emergency meeting that may determine the future of thousands of students at Australia’s largest Islamic school will be held early next week.
Earlier this week, the Federal Government said it would axe funding to the Malek Fahd Islamic school in Greenacre in Sydney’s south west, saying it failed to address concerns about how $19 million in federal money was being spent.
Jihad Dib – whose state seat of Lakemba covers the school’s local area – said he was talking to many parents, students and teachers from the school since the announcement was made.
He said Year 12 parents were especially worried about what the future held for the school.
“This is all about the kids at this point. The Year 12 students are halfway through their higher school certificate,” Mr Dib said.
“They are very distressed. The parents are seeing their kids distressed.
“Year 12 is stressful enough. Imagine being told you may have to potentially change schools halfway.”
Mr Dib – a former high school principal himself – said from a practical point of view, it would be hard to resettle nearly 2,500 students into other schools.
“The way schools are structured and the timetables are mapped out would make it extremely hard for students to slot straight in to another school.”
School captain beside himself: Dib
Mr Dib said there were also nearly 200 staff members worried about their jobs.
He said he had written to NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli seeking an urgent meeting which would be held next week in conjunction with senior NSW education officials.
One possible short-term solution whilst legal action is undertaken by various parties would be to appoint an interim administrator, Mr Dib said.
“Somebody could be put in place to make sure the school has proper governance during this uncertain period, to prevent the school closing down ” he said.
“It is not the kids, parents or teachers fault this is happening. The school’s school captain is beside himself. The kids are not a part of any of this, yet they are suffering.”
Meanwhile, an online petition of parents from the school has garnered more than 1,600 signatures saying that while they agreed with the sentiments behind the Federal Government’s decision, they oppose its impact.