Private school investigated

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As the school year draws to a close, Voice has received an anonymous letter, written by a concerned parent. The parent suggested that there were a few irregularities at the Academy of Excellence private school in Bloemfontein.

The parent claimed that Grade 10 and 11 learners have allegedly not been taught for the past six months and that the school had made up Grade 12 learners’ marks for the Computer Applied Technology subject.

The parent also complained of a teacher who allegedly called learners baboons. The school has denied these allegations, stating that it had invited the education department to help investigate the claims.

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Spokesperson for the Department of Education in the Free State, Howard Ndaba, confirmed that the department is investigating three allegations made against the school.

Ndaba said: “The first is that Grade 12 learners who were doing Computer Applied Technology (CAT) had not been taught since September, because the teacher who was teaching the subject had resigned without marking the work already done by learners.”

He added that the department’s subject advisor picked up on the issue and worked together with the school to mark the assignments.

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Another allegation was that the principal, who is responsible for teaching Grade 10 and 11 learners Life Orientation, gave learners three question papers with the memorandum, saying that the exam questions would come from those papers, however, he did not cover material for the last school term’s work.

“When they were writing an exam, he gave learners three question papers and said to the learners, ‘I will set the exam out of those three question papers’ and then he gave them some memorandum. One of those papers was the exam and that is in our view, a serious irregularity and misconduct,” Ndaba said.

The department then recommended that the learners should re-write the exam and a new question paper be set. He added that the exam won’t cover the fourth term’s work, as the principal did not cover it during the year.

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Umalusi senior manager of public relations and communications, Lucky Ditaunyane, said that Umalusi, which overlooks the accreditation of private school’s in the country, would not get involved in the matter.

He said the matter relates to issues that are dealt with by the schools governing body and the provincial Department of Education.

“Our legislative mandate only allows us to deal with exam issues pertaining to exit point examinations, and by exit point I mean Grade 12 and some of the adult education qualifications where, after completing the exam, the learner stands to obtain a certificate for that particular qualification,” said Ditaunyane.

He added Umalusi has very little to do with the internal exams which are set and written at the school.

The matter would then be dealt with by the Department of Education. Howard Ndaba said they are also investigating an allegation of a teacher referring to learners as baboons.

“We have recommended to the owners of the school to institute an investigation. Remember, this is a private school. Our role is very limited, but we are recommending an investigation as this was an irregular activity, this was wrong. We are saying, let them investigate,” he added. – Seithati Semenokane
seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za