Initially, the school was only for boys. It was not until 1950 that the school began accepting girls from grade 6. Since 2022, the school has become a coeducational high school when girls are officially admitted. Entering grade 1 of the 2009 enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year.

In addition, the school is famous for educating a number of prominent Malaysian and Singaporean figures, including Wong Pow Nee, Karpal Singh, Cecil Rajendra and Hon Sui Sen. The school’s students are known as Xaverians or Lasallians (The Lasallians education system originates from St. John of La San, which in Vietnam literally translates as the Order of Brothers of Catholic Schools or Lasallians).


To this day, St. Xavier’s Institution maintains a persistent historical rivalry with Penang Free School, another top school in George Town, which holds the distinction of being Malaysia’s oldest school. The school has two primary schools in Pulau Tikus and Air Itam.

History of St. Xavier’s Institution stretches back to 1787, shortly after George Town was founded by Captain Francis Light. Light invited Bishop Arnaud-Antoine Garnault, a French Catholic priest, to George Town when Bishop Garnault and his Asian apostles were fleeing political persecution in Siam. After arriving in George Town, Bishop Garnault, who was fluent in Malay, established a Malay school in Church Street.