School  principal quits over exam leak

School principal quits over exam leak

MASERU-THE principal of Hlotse High School, Moshene Joseph Hlongwane, is under investigation for allegedly leaking answer sheets during last year’s Form C and E examinations.
The Examination Council of Lesotho (ECOL) has since withheld the school’s Form C results and is said to have told the school board that it will withhold the Form E results as well.
Hlongwane resigned on January 2 amid pressure from irate school board members and the ECOL officials who quizzed him about the examination fraud that is likely to affect more than 100 students.

The ECOL official, Mokhitli Khoabane, told thepost yesterday that the council has withheld the results “because there are some wrongdoings we are investigating against the principal”.
“We also discovered that the principal wrote (exams) for some of the students,” Khoabane said, adding that they are yet to establish how many students benefited from the alleged fraud.
“He confessed (to) some of the issues I will not talk about lest we compromise the investigations.”
“Where the principal seems to have directly had a hand in the malfeasance, we can’t comfortably hold examinations in such a centre.”
Form C results were announced on Monday while those for Form E are expected sometime this month.
Sources at ECOL told thepost they suspect that Hlongwane has been rigging the examinations process since 2014.
Teachers at the school said they were shocked by the allegations against Hlongwane.

Maloka Phamotse, the Sesotho and History teacher, said ECOL officials told the board on January 2 that the school is under investigation.
He said some board members then told teachers that Hlongwane was suspected of leaking answer sheets to students.
He said the board told them that ECOL found that eight papers for the Form E examinations were leaked.
Phamotse said the board explained that Hlongwane confessed to leaking answer sheets to a student.

“To our surprise, the principal resigned the same day the meeting was held, and instead of him being replaced by the deputy principal, the board fired the deputy principal and appointed the acting principal and deputy on the same day,” Phamotse said.
He said the board’s decision angered teachers who felt that they were being marginalised since “the principal and deputy were replaced by teachers who were not even in the school management or anywhere close to that”.

Phamotse said teachers stormed out of the meeting where the board was announcing the new staff.
“Teachers are not satisfied at all with the decision and we had to walk out in objection because we were not told the reasons why the deputy was expelled from her office and replaced by one of the board members,” he said.

“This says the board fired our deputy principal to its benefit because immediately after firing her they appointed one of them to act as principal and another to be the deputy principal”.
Phamotse said parents have not been informed that the results will be withheld.
“After the board was told that even the Form E results will not be (released) they have not informed or called a meeting to inform parents about the situation which is about to happen,” he said.
The fired deputy principal, Lebohang Rafono, declined to comment saying “the matter is in the hands of justice”.

Rafono said she received her dismissal letter last Friday.
Although refusing to get into the details of the letter Rafono said there is a conflict between the school board and the teachers.
“I am very disappointed, I don’t even want to meet people nor the community due to what happened in our school,” she said.
A member of the board refused to comment.
Efforts to get Hlongwane’s comment failed as he was not answering his phone.

Itumeleng Khoete

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