Parents of pupils attending different senior secondary schools in Makeni have expressed great concern over the high number of pupils expelled from schools in the township. The expulsion, which is now evident in four senior secondary schools, has now left confused parents desperately searching for alternative schools before state of the 2008-2009 academic year.
Taking the lead in the expulsion saga is the St. Francis Secondary School, the former Oxford of the North and now School of Languages. Information gathered by Awoko shows that nearly five hundred (500) pupils from both the JSS and SSS level have been expelled for failing to meet promotional conditions set by the administration. This includes an average of 50 percent for promotion to a new class in the JSS whilst a pass mark of 50 percent in six subjects is required for the SS.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that four hundred (400) pupils from the Muslim Brotherhood Secondary School have been slammed with the notorious Never Return (NR) stamp – it’s noteworthy that the promotional conditions at the Brotherhood school are reported to be different from that of St. Francis.
A senior teacher told Awoko that indiscipline, gross insubordination and irregularity were taken into consideration when expelling the pupils.
Taking the cue from the St. Francis and Brotherhood schools, the Makeni Comprehensive Academy Secondary School advised a total of three hundred and fifty (350) pupils to transfer to other schools. The expulsion of pupils at Comprehensive Academy surprised many schools, as the institution is widely known to be the melting point for all pupils who have been expelled from schools in previous years.
Mr. Sinneh Gabriel Saidu Bangura, who doubles as a senior teacher and Head of the Business Studies department in the school, acknowledged the fact that Comprehensive Academy School is widely reputed as a dumping ground for all types of pupils.
He however pointed out that the school, which grabbed the Fast-growing School Award in 2004, has now taken the first bold step to shelve the dumping ground label.
“Our interpretation of the 6-3-3-4 system creates room to repeat and expel not mass promotion,” he said. “We must set standards that will be in conformity with other big schools in the country.”
It took the two principals of the schools two hours of wrangling with the staff before preconditions set by the exams committee that paved the way for expulsion would be accepted. The Acting Chief proprietor Mr. Dayan B. Mustapha was commended by staff for taking the bold step which he called “a right step for the school.”
The Birch Memorial Secondary School, whose principal is the chairman of North Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (CPSS), is reported not to have toed the line of the expulsion saga. St. Joseph’s Secondary School, which is notorious for expelling pupils ever year, went relatively low this year with a figure of one hundred (100).