School Rejects Learners

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK Ella du Plessis High School in Khomasdal yesterday turned away 17 learners the school suspended last year for alleged inappropriate behaviour and unbecoming conduct. The suspension of the entire Grade 9 G class was lifted after the line ministry interfered in the matter, ruling the suspension by the school management out of order. Yesterday, one concerned parent bemoaned: “They turned away my boy today, saying he was a trouble-maker. I don’t disagree the 17 learners did not perform well, but how can they if the teachers themselves are not performing. “Who would take the rubbish of Ella? Grade 10 is a difficult class, where will we find a school now. They told us that they want to improve the passing rate of the school. Other schools also want good performers, now they want to send their learners there,” he argued. The parent who requested anonymity for fear that his child might be victimised also questioned the so-called school board’s leniency towards a certain accounting teacher whose behaviour in class was allegedly more unbecoming. “There was a complaint about a specific teacher, we want to know what happened to him. If he caught a boy and girl chatting in his class, he would tell them that if they (learners) want to make love, they must just tell him so that he can give them a room because his house is near and they can go there to make love. This was demoralising to the learners.” The 17 affected scholars from a class of 41 learners were suspended at the beginning of August last year for being unruly, not attending classes and for disrespecting teachers. Initially, the school suspended the entire class and reversed its decision after the culprits were identified. The school board chairperson Lazarus Shatipamba, in principle did not agree with the suspension, also saying that the school board was not properly consulted about the issue. This resulted in the suspension being revoked and the 17 learners recalled to attend school. “They never told us that they would not accept our children this year (2006). The only letter they sent us was, if a child misbehaves, they would issue an expulsion letter to the specific child,” said an irate parent. He vowed that he would not let go of the issue. “If they transferred the children to Grade 10, they must keep the children there,” he stressed. The headmaster at Ella du Plessis, Seth January, confirmed the rejection stating that it was a school board decision and that parents were already informed last year. “It’s strange that other learners can perform and others can’t,” January curtly commented about the 17 learners who were all promoted. He however could not say whether the 17 learners were the only ones who failed to be promoted to Grade 10 out of the entire class. With regard to allegations against the accounting teacher he replied: “I know about this. The school inspector was informed and the specific teacher was warned. In fact, he apologised in front of the school board.” January was mum when asked whether perhaps the school board was more lenient on the part of the teacher compared to the learners and only reiterated that the decisions were taken by the school board.