School facing de-registration left in limbo

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School facing de-registration left in limbo

The hopes of a private school at risk of being de-registered by the education ministry on allegations of malpractice were dashed by the High Court yesterday when the court refused to grant it the orders it sought.

Savo Nuts Private School took the education ministry to court after the ministry informed it on 25 January of its intention to de-register the school as an examination centre for NSSCO and NSSCAS grades 11 and 12 as of 1 March. 

The ministry also informed the school that it plans to find placement for its grades 11 and 12 learners, as it conducts investigations into the alleged malpractice at the school during the 2023 NSSCO examinations.

The school, which is based in Oshikango is also aggrieved by the ministry and the National Examination, Assessment and Certification Board’s decision to bar it from registering candidates for full-time and part-time examinations in grades 11 and 12 for the 2024 academic year on the education ministry’s online registration platform.

Furthermore, the school is not happy that the education ministry alongside the board has not released all the outstanding results of the learners who sat for the October/November 2023 examinations. 

The school had 46 learners who sat for the exams, and the examination results have been withheld for the learners.

Thus, the school sought a court interdict to prevent the ministry from implementing its decisions.

However, yesterday judge Kobus Miller said the court will not grant the orders sought and it is satisfied with the current measures put in place by the ministry until it reaches a final decision on the matter.

“It is premature at this stage to speculate what the respondent (education ministry) will decide,” he said.

However, he ordered the ministry to provide the school with the full investigative report of the investigations conducted by the ministry’s National Examination, Assessment, and Certification Board on 16 and 17 January 2024.

The ministry must also give the school the full written recommendations by the National Examination, Assessment, and Certification Board.

No order of cost was made by the court.

Last week, school’s lawyer Immanuel Tomas said when the ministry was done with its investigations into the alleged malpractice, they were not given a report detailing the findings.

He said the school was also not allowed to be heard before the National Examination, Assessment, and Certification Board made a recommendation for the school to be de-registered.

Tomas argued that the school will suffer irreparable harm by losing income, having candidates unregistered, and will suffer a blow to its reputation as a business, without being found guilty of any malpractice.

The ministry’s lawyer Kobby Muyumbano submitted that the school was not supposed to approach the High Court without exhausting the education ministry’s internal processes. 

In court documents, deputy executive director for the education ministry Edda Bohn said following the investigations by the Malpractice Committee, it was recommended that the school must make presentations to the ministry on or before 1 March. This was communicated to the school on 23 January. 

On 5 February, the ministry sought the guidance of the attorney general. 

But while they waited, the school approached the court. Bohn said the school did not allow for internal proceedings to conclude.

She, however, observed that the school is not barred from enrolling learners for school and examination purposes.

She said there is nothing for the court to decide on when the ministry has not yet made a final decision. 

Thus, the move by the school to institute court proceedings is interfering with the internal processes of the ministry.

Bohn added that the barring of the online registration process with the education ministry is a preventative measure while internal processes are being concluded.

All in all, the school is allowed to enrol learners and collect tuition fees.