As students from across the country are sitting for the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations which started today, 63 candidates from Blantyre will miss the exams after school authorities failed to pay the students’ examinations fees.
This is despite the fact that the students paid the fees at their school which was supposed to process the payment to Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb).
Students from Lingua Franca private school in Ndirande, Blantyre today morning converged at Ndirande Police Station together with their parents seeking police intervention after it transpired that the will not be able to sit for the ongoing MSCE exams.
Police officers, teachers from the school, students and parents were for hours locked up in a meeting trying to map the way forward as directors for the school are allegedly on the run.
According to head teacher for the school, Rex Khembo, one of the school directors Gerald Saidi received close to K700 000 ($979) as examination fees for the 63 candidates who were expected to write their examinations from Soche and Nyambadwe cluster centres. However, the director never registered the students’ with Maneb.
Khembo said after noticing that identity cards for the candidates were not submitted to the school, he sent some teachers to inquire at Maneb offices in Zomba and they discovered that examination fees for the said candidates were not remitted to the board.
Said Khembo: “We have come to seek for police intervention because even myself I don’t know how to sort out this mess. We have tried to communicate with the directors but they are nowhere to be found.”
Khembo who said was appointed head teacher three months ago, explained that everything regarding exam registration and payments were being handled by the school directors.
“As of now we are afraid of what people might do. We have even closed the whole school for our own safety and that of the other students,” he said.
One of the parents Margaret Nkasala urged the police to be vigilant enough and apprehend the school directors.
“We want the police to apprehend them and make them pay back the examination fees and school fees for the three terms of the 2015/16 academic year,” she said.
Each student paid an average of K16 000 ($22) in examination registration and fees and K10 000 ($14) as school fees per term.
Police at the station said they have launched a manhunt for the school directors. When apprehended, the directors will answer charges of obtaining money by false pretence.
One of the candidates Tashina Addin called on parents to look for good schools for their children and for the Ministry of Education Science and Technology to conduct regular inspection in schools to ensure that they are up to the standards.
Maneb spokesperson Simeon Maganga blamed the students for not checking their names on time.
Maganga said at this stage there is nothing the board can do to assist the candidates.
According to Maganga, officially, Lingua Franca is the only school faced with this challenge in this year’s MSCE exams.
Last month thirty four students from Amina Girls Academy in Ntcheu failed to sit for the Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examinations after the school director failed to register the school with Maneb.