WAEC candidates in police custody
Kambia, Jan. 27 (SLENA) – It was going to be a hell of situation in Kambia town, if it were not for the timely intervention of a team of police personnel led by the Support Officer, Superintendent Santos Bangura of the Kambia Police Station, SLENA reports.
Reports say the team stormed the Sierra Leone Islamic Federation Secondary School where there were reports of riot among pupils. Even though the police were pelted with stones upon arrival on campus, the team ended up arresting some pupils including the Senior School Prefect, Alhajie Adikali Kamara who doubles as the leader of the said uprising.
According to the Crime Officer, Inspector Morlai Kamara, the issue has to do with candidates for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) scheduled for March 2014.
It is reported that the Islamic Federation School in Kambia submitted a list of 118 candidates but only 40 names were shortlisted by the Ministry of Education as legible candidates for the pending exams.
Sources say the Senior Prefect, Alhajie Adikali Kamara was among those whose names were not shortlisted. Himself and several others were of the firm belief that they were not only qualified, but that they paid the sum of Le130,000.00 that was demanded by the principal, Saidu Pedro Kamara.
Speaking to SLENA in the wake of the disturbance, the Crime Officer explained about a visit he made earlier to the school together with the Support Officer and some representatives from both the offices of the District Director of Education and that of National Security, when they first heard of rumours of a pending protest by pupils.
It was agreed there and then, report states, that the principal, Saidu Pedro Kamara should travel to Freetown and seek ways through which the issue could be resolved.
According to the Crime Officer, they were still waiting for the return of the principal when the rumpus started on campus. On the day in question, the school’s Senior Prefect snatched the school bell and sounded it continuously. The teaching and learning process was disrupted as the situation became uncontrollable.
The disgruntlement that ensued and the potential state of lawlessness caught with other schools in the district, including the Movement of Faith Islamic Secondary School at Barmoi Luma.
Sources say the pupils in these schools that have paid for the examination were now losing their patience especially when the time scheduled for the exams was just around the corner.
The pupils, highly suspicious that they would not be enrolled for the exams, were therefore demanding a refund of their money from their school authorities.
Yusuf Kamara is the Director of Education in Kambia. He said the Ministry had earlier advised principals of schools to admit pupils whose Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) result was six subjects including Language Arts and Mathematics.
He said those with four subjects including any of the aforementioned subjects could as well be considered. The Director of Education however noted with dismay that the principals of schools did not adhere to this advice and they instead went ahead admitting all sorts of pupils even those with less than three subjects.
He said the problem started surfacing when the Ministry demanded the list of candidates and their BECE results, which most principals found it difficult to tender simply because such documents were not with them.
The District Director of Education in Kambia said this was an indication of the inability of most school authorities to administer well, noting that the principals are particularly having problems with those who want to re-take the exams as well as those that have poor BECE results but have already paid additional sums of money, and who at the same time have been rejected by the ministry.
An emergency meeting of key stakeholders in the education sector has just been held at the office of the Local Unit Commander, Chief Superintendent Amara Sesay in a bid to map out ways through which the issue could be resolved without a fracas.
Meanwhile, the disgruntled pupils in every school have been advised to keep their cool and to refrain from all forms of lawlessness as the matter is now under very serious consideration.
Sources say plans are afoot for the Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools to prevail upon the Minister of Education to accept those that would want to re-take the exams, but that the various school authorities should be prepared to refund the monies paid by each candidate if the minister fails to grant their request.
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