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School rapped on knuckles for suspending pupils

Written by on April 18, 2024

The principal of Oshigambo High School in the Oshikoto region is being accused of victimising pupils and suspending them unnecessarily.

A Grade 12 pupil allegedly had to find accommodation at a nearby village after his parents were notified that he was expelled from the hostel for participating in a prayer session with other pupils at night.

The pupil alleges he is not allowed to attend his church.

Principal Pinias Ekongo, however, says as the school is afilliated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin), “charismatic church activities cannot be entertained”.

The mother of a Grade 11 pupil says her son is often expelled from the school too.

“That man is running the affairs of the school like a dictator. I work at Walvis Bay, and since 2022, I am summoned to go and pick up my son from the school every now and then, since he is expelled for one reason or another.

“At one time I was told teachers do not like him, because he is ill-disciplined, and at another time I was told he and others are being noisy in class, or are insulting teachers.

“Why are our children only ill disciplined now that Ekongo has taken over as school principal? We have taken the matter up with the region’s director of education, Aletta Eises, and the school was given a directive to let the children be,” the mother says.

Eises in a letter to the school, dated 5 March, directed that the involved pupils should not have been suspended or expelled.

“It is expected of the school governing body to act as per the directives. Against the above backdrop, my office has ordered that the school’s actions be revoked and I therefore recommend an urgent reinstatement of both [pupils’ names withheld since they are minors] back in the hostel, as well as all other pupils who have been suspended or expelled from Oshigambo High School,” she wrote.

Ekongo on Tuesday confirmed the suspension of a pupil due to participating in unauthorised religious activities at the hostel premises.

“The pupil, who has proclaimed himself as a pastor, has been found guilty of disregarding school regulations and infringing upon the rights of fellow pupils.

“This is not the first time the pupil has faced disciplinary action. He has been suspended before for the same offence. This school operates under rules and regulations set by Elcin, agreed upon by the parents.

“Numerous complaints by the parents further highlight the adverse effects of these activities on the overall academic and social environment of the school,” he said.

Ekongo, however, pointed out that the school’s management is willing to reconsider it’s decision based on the pupil in question’s response to counselling sessions that have been arranged for him.

“The withdrawal of hostel privileges serves as a clear message that unauthorised activities, especially those that disrupt the learning environment and compromise the well-being of all pupils, will not be condoned at this school,” he said.

A social activist from the Oshikoto region, John Johannes, condemns the school’s suspension of pupils due to their church affiliation.

“Article 19 of the Constitution provides for freedom of religion and culture. For the school then to say it does not want pupils to practise their choice of religion is outrageous.

“The one pupil especially was charged with 20 others, who allegedly convened with him, but those pupils were never suspended or expelled from the hostel.

“I asked the school why, but they replied that I cannot dictate to them how to run their affairs. This principal is totally unreasonable towards pupils,” Johannes says.

The post School rapped on knuckles for suspending pupils appeared first on The Namibian.

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