Moshupa Senior Secondary School's poor performance record that is also seeing an annual decline is blamed partly on the indiscipline of its students.
This indiscipline goes years back, when gangs plagued the school, with the unruly students from Thamaga and Moshupa having territorial fights to a point where there was bloodshed.
At the time, the students’ behaviour led the education ministry to initiate a sponsored rehabilitation trip to the Okavango for the notorious gang members.
A face-value analysis of the school’s results in the past three years paints a poor picture as the school has always been recording below 30% A to C pass rate.
Student behaviour and indiscipline levels saw school authorities appealing to the communities’ leaders of the respective villages to assist combat the problem.
Such indiscipline in schools in the country has been a headache for the education ministry and undermines the education system.
Exacerbated by the use of alcohol and drugs in the wider community, indiscipline has been a national concern with the education ministry working hard to fight the scourge.
Last week five girls and two boys were caught smoking dagga by Moshupa school security at the back of the classroom whilst others were attending evening study.
The school’s disciplinary committee and parents of the concerned learners are currently handling the matter with possible expulsion of the delinquent students from boarding looming. The incident happened after the girls, all boarding students, were given a weekend off to visit their families at Jwaneng mining town and upon their return, brought the dagga that they were caught smoking with their fellow male students.
Confirming the matter to The Monitor, Chief Education Officer for Moshupa Sub-Education Office, Tumelo Rakgabo expressed concern over the poor performance of the school, citing learner behaviour as the major reason.
He said over the years, the school has been recording poor results, which continue to decline each year, something they said is fuelled by the students’ bad behaviour.
“In 2015 the school obtained 27.31% from A to C pass mark and held position eight in the Botswana General Certificate Secondary Examinations (BGCSE). In 2016, it dropped to position 14 with 24.91% pass rate and further dropped to 23.28% last year, slipping down to position 17 amongst the senior secondary schools performance list,” Rakgabo said, adding that the poor performance of the school needs immediate attention.
He, however, said that the school management has been engaging the village leadership, parents, as well as students in responding to the crisis.“It is true the school management is currently investigating a case in which students were caught smoking dagga in the school premises whist others were studying.
“A week ago whilst
Rakgabo stated that it is highly likely the students will be expelled from boarding.
“We do not condone the use of alcohol and drugs amongst learners and the concerned learners are highly likely to be expelled even from school as punishment so that they do not influence other students,” he said.
He stated that their parents were called to school to be notified of their behaviour and the possible punishment that could be meted out to them. “The matter is still being handled with the parents and the decision has not yet been taken, but they will be punished accordingly. The girls confirmed that indeed on their way from Jwaneng, they bought dagga, brought it into the school and called the two boys to share it with,” Rakgabo said.
“We have observed that these students (from Jwaneng mining town) are financially endowed compared to other learners, something that has turned to be a bad influence on their lives, as they can afford to buy anything at anytime, even drugs.
There was another similar case at Goodhope Senior Secondary School that involved students who are also from Jwaneng mining town,” he said.
He discouraged parents from giving their children in excess, particularly money that feeds their bad habits.
“These children do not need money because we supply them with a three-day meal. The only thing that parents should do is to buy them toiletry and uniforms. Other than that, there is no need to spoil them by giving them unnecessary cash that has turned to be a bad influence.”
Rakgabo cited another incident from last year following the completion of Form 5 examinations when the students held their Pens Down party in Jwaneng.
He said: “One of the male students was stabbed to death with a sharp object. This is the kind of behaviour that we are battling with amongst students from Jwaneng.
“It is not like other students are saints, but we have observed a worrying attitude amongst them, therefore we plead for parents’ speedy involvement in the matter”.
Rakgabo stated that the ministry has introduced a wide variety of measures to address indiscipline in schools and sensitise learners on the dangers of substance abuse.
He said the measures include the strengthening of the pastoral policy, which advocates and involves students in some of the decision-making processes and running of the school.