Despite being faced with closure, Sydney’s largest Islamic school, Malek Fahd, will remain open next term as it launches an action plan to restore Federal Government funding.
Earlier this month, an internal review by the Federal Government found that the Greenacre school – which has 2,400 students and 30 staff – had failed to justify ongoing funding by the Commonwealth.
The decision followed an audit which found governance and financial mismanagement issues at the six schools run by the nation’s peak Muslim body, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC).
However, the school confirmed this week that it has the money to continue operating into Term 2 and has a plan to demonstrate to the Federal Government that it has complied with governance and financial regulations.
The school’s interim board chairwoman, Miriam Silva, said the board was encouraged by a decision by the Department on April 12 to reapprove funding eligibility for other AFIC schools in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria.
“Obviously the fact that four other Islamic schools can address the [governance] issues and get their funding back gives us confidence,” Silva told The Express.
In another move to bolster the school’s chances of remaining open, Malek Fahd’s lawyer, Rick Mitry, is pursuing a last-ditch Administrative Appeals Tribunal appeal to restore funding to the beleaguered school.
Meanwhile, students who are anxious about the uncertainty over the school’s future are being offered counselling.
Should the school close, thousands of beleaguered students may have to be taken in by surrounding schools, which could prove to be a difficult and messy process.