LPM calls on learners to seek remedy in courts over exams suspension

Eba Kandovazu

THE Landless People’s Movement (LPM) says it is prepared to support parents and guardians of Grade 11 and 12 learners who intend to legally challenge the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.

This about this ministry’s decision to cancel examinations and have them re-written next year after question papers were leaked in the Oshana region. Yesterday the ministry announced that three police cases have been opened and ten suspects subsequently arrested. Executive Director (ED) in the ministry, Sanet Steenkamp, says eight of the suspects were released on bail while two, foreigners, are still in police custody. Only visually impaired learners are continuing with examinations.

LPM’s leader, Bernardus Swaartboi, at a press conference today has called on school board members to source funds and collectively approach the High Court. “School boards should go litigate against this issue. Make resources available and take this ministry to court like it happened in South Africa. That court found that the ministry was wrong. Follow the same route. As parents, you have invested so much in your children. You have been sweating and you have been asking your children to pull up their socks, you have invested in extra tutors and everything possible to bring your children to this point. Do not sit idle. Go to court and litigate, we will try to take up the matter in parliament and we will write to the ministry, condemning their action, their approach and lack of adequate security systems,” Swaartboi urges.

He adds that the ministry ought to have had alternative question papers in case of eventualities. He also accused Education Minister, Anna Nghipondoka, of being a failure in comparison to her predecessor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who resigned following her corruption conviction.

“We have to reflect on Hanse-Himarwa. She has done extraordinarily better than Nghipondoka. Steenkamp needs to be led. Katrina was leading. Nghipondoka is also not in Parliament, we don’t know where she is, we can’t find her, we can’t ask her questions as she is always angry. If you look at what she has done in terms of in-service training, in terms of developing better systems, she has done nothing. How can you punish all learners? It is wholly irrelevant. How does a child who was never involved get to be punished? They have no right to illegitimise the results of children,”Swaartboi remarks.

Meanwhile, the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN)’s Secretary-General, Mahongora Kavihuha, says they are disappointed that the relevant stakeholders were not consulted before the ministry’s decision was made. According to him, unions and other stakeholders only found out through the media that examinations are to be canceled and re-written.
“We are very disappointed and disturbed that the ministry also does not have back up question papers. In any principles of examination, the rule is that they should have extra question papers in case of any eventuality. It is confirming what we have been saying over the years that there is a lack of leadership within the ministry. We are not seeing this incident as an isolated incident because it is a trend that has been going on over the years. Over the years we have also been against the region’s comparisons of who performed best,” Kavihuha says.He also adds that parents should approach the High Court to challenge the decision.

The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) did not respond to questions, saying a statement will be released at a later stage. In her statement, Steenkamp says the affected subjects for grade 12 Ordinary Level (old curriculum) are; English 2nd Language Paper 1(core) and Paper 2(extended), History papers 1 and 2, Agriculture papers 1 and 2, Development Studies papers 1,2 and 3 as well as Biology papers 1,2 and 3.

The affected subjects for Grade 11 Ordinary level ( new curriculum) are; English 2nd Language paper 1, Afrikaans 2nd Language paper 1, Biology papers 1,2 and 3, Mathematics papers 1 and 2, Physical Science papers 1,2 and 3, Chemistry papers 1,2 and 3, Entrepreneurship paper 1, Business Studies papers 1 and 2, Agriculture paper 1 as well as Oshikwanyama and Oshindonga Papers 1,2 and 3.

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