IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
In the Application of -
PARENTS COMMITTEE MATIKOE SECONDARY SCHOOL Applicant
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL Respondent
Delivered by the Honourable Mr. Justice J.L. Kheola on the 10th day of February, 1988
The applicant is seeking an order directing the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture to make available to the applicant the results of the 1984 Junior Certificate Examination at Matikoe Secondary School.
The founding affidavit is signed by one Thabo Matsoko who describes himself as the representative of the Parents Committee of the 1984 Matikoe Junior Certificate Candidates. He claims that he is duly authorized to make the affidavit and that all the facts contained therein fall within his personal knowledge.
The facts of this case are common cause, they are that 'Matikoe Secondary School is Examinations Centre No. 258. At the end of 198+ Junior Certificate candidates sat for their examinations at the centre. During the marking of the scripts the Chief Examiner of Integrated Science noticed that the scores and mistakes made by the candidates a.
Centre 258 showed some abnormality. He reported the matter to the Examinations Council of Lesotho (ECOL) and was asked to study the scripts with his marking board and to submit a full written report of his findings. The Headmaster of Matikoe Secondary School was invited to ECOL offices and shown the scripts. He agreed that the scores and mistakes made by the candidates of centre 258 showed some abnormality. He was asked to go back to his school and to investigate the matter.
On the 18th January, 1985 three teachers who invigilated during he examinations claimed that the examinations were properly conducted in accordance with the regulations. When scores in other subjects were checked they showed some serious abnormalities. The matter was then reported to the Standing Committee which after a thorough study of the scripts decided to suspend the results of the said school and to conduct an immediate investigation.
The investigation started on the 28th January, 1985 and involved the Headmaster of Matikoe (the chief invigilator), 1984 J.C. teachers 1984 J.C. candidates and parents of 1984 J.C candidates Three of the teachers gave evidence before the Standing Committee that
Subject teachers were allowed into the examination room during examinations and assisted candidates on enquiries, involving examination questions.
there was a local arrangement whereby subject teachers must help candidates during examinations. This was effected in the following manner.
(i) the timetable was NOT strictly adhered to. Candidates started writing immediately after assembly (8.00 a.m.) and continued writing for as long as they wished.
(11) those teachers who did not conform had it hard in the school, and in one case punitive measures were attempted.
(111) some of the teachers have already been accused and labelled "sell outs".
Two of the candidates admitted that teachers assisted then during examinations.
The relevant regulations are regulations 7, 16 and 22.
Regulation 7 reads
"The timetable must be strictly adhered to. Any departure from the prescribed times will, as a rule, invalidate the examination.........."
Regulation 16 reads
"The candidates must not be disturbed, interrupted or assisted in any way during the examination. NO enquiry involving the explanation of examination questions may be answered......................"
Regulation 22 reads
"As soon as the time for paper has expired, the candidates must be stopped promptly..........."
The Standing Committee of the Examinations Council of Lesotho found that the above regulations had been violated and decided that
"(i) All candidates of Centre 258 - Matikoe Secondary School should be disqualified.
(11) Centre 258 - Matikoe Secondary School should be suspended as an examination centre until the Examinations Council has been assured that the administration of the school is responsible enough to be trusted to conduct examinations of their candidates in the desired manner.
(111) The above decision should be communicated to the Ministry of Education, Educational Secretary and the affected candidates."
The report of the Standing Committee is Annexure "A" to the answering affidavit. The circular to all the parents of 1984 J C.
candidates is Annexure "B". In the circular the parents of the candidates were informed that because of the irregularities which were committed during the conduct of the examinations, the decision was to disqualify all the candidates and to annul the results of the J.C. candidates at Centre 258 for the year 1984.
The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture upheld the decision of the Examinations Council of Lesotho and instructed the Educational Secretary for L.E.C. Schools to take disciplinary action against the Headmaster of Matikoe Secondary School and any member of staff found guilty of the malpractice. See Annesure "C" to the answering affidavit). Annexure "J" is a letter from the Educational Secretary showing that proper disciplinary action had been taken and that the administration of the school had been placed in the hands of responsible people.
I have given a detailed account of what happened before the Examinations Council of Lesotho decided to disqualify the J.C candidates at 'Matikoe Secondary School and to suspend the school as an examination centre. I have done this because I do not understand why the applicant decided to institute these proceedings. The parents were aware of what had happened and were aware when their children were invited to ECOL offices to give evidence as to how the examination was conducted, Only ten children gave evidence and it is not clean why the others declined to come and give evidence and yet they regular;" went to their school to make inquiries about the results of their examinations.
The inquiry was conducted in a very fair manner in that the teachers who were involved in the conduct of the examinations were given the chance to testify as to what happened. Three of them
admitted that they assisted candidates on enquiries involving examination questions. Their story was confirmed by some of the candidates. The answers given by the children in the scripts were identical and this is what aroused the suspicion of the Examiners that something was wrong. That suspicion was confirmed by evidence that children were assisted by teachers in all subjects except two.
Mr. Snyman, counsel for the applicant argued that the parents of the candidates were prejudiced by failure of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture to make the results available to them. I fail to understand what results he is talking about because the candidates who sat for the examinations were disqualified because of serious irregularities committed by them with the assistance of the teachers. The candidates must have known that what the teachers were doing was against the regulations but they agreed to get an unfair advantage over other candidates from other centres who strictly adhered to the regulations. Because of the disqualification of the candidates there are no results requiring publication
If the applicant wants this Court to order the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture to make available to them the results which have been annulled because of serious irregularities and marks which were obtained through disgraceful conduct and dishonesty on and part of both candidates and their teachers, then this Court shall be condoning corruption and making mockery of the purpose of examinations. The purpose of examinations is to test or assess knowledge of the candidates and not to test their ability to copy and record what their teachers tell them during the examinations. The children and their parents must understand that a certificate that a child has passed a certain examination is issued on merit. They must be proud of their achievements only when they know that the certificate reflects the standard of their knowledge at the time they sat for their examination
This application is entirely without merit and clearly shows how unreasonable some parents can be. They are not even challenging the finding of the Standing Committee of the Examinations Council of Lesotho that as a result of serious irregularities the candidates were disqualified and that this meant the annulment of the results. Despite that finding they feel bold enough to come to this Court and waste its time seeking practically unreasonable and useless orders.
During the hearing of this application I mero metu raised the question of the locus standi in judicio of the applicant. Mr. Snyman submitted that the respondent had admitted the locus standi of the applicant in paragraph 5 of the answering affidavit made by " Molefe Pule by saying "I have no knowledge of the contents herein contained. I submit they do not raise any contentious issues and therefore may be deemed admitted." I must point out that what the respondent admitted was that the deponent of the founding affidavit is the representative of the applicant and that he is authorized to make the affidavit. The question of the locus standi in judicio is, not mentioned in that paragraph. The applicant is not defined anywhere in its own affidavit.
It seems to me that the applicant has not got the characteristics of an unincorporated association with powers to sue and to be sued in its own name. It does not have perpetual succession of its members nor does it have the right to acquire rights and to incur liabilities in its own name apart from its members. See Principles of South African Law, 5th edition by G. Willie at p. 155. The applicant is a committee formed for the sole purpose of this case and after the completion of this case the committee will cease to exist and may never , formed again unless a similar problem crops up again. It is therefor clear that the applicant has no perpetual succession.
The applicant has no constitution showing that it can own property in its own name apart from its members and that it can sue and be sued in its own name. I am convinced that the applicant has no locus standi in judicio.
For the reasons stated above the application is dismissed with costs to be paid by the parents of the dandidates concerned jointly and severally, the one paying the others to be absolved.
S3 L. KHEOLA
10th February, 1988.
For the Applicant - Mr. Snyman
For the Respondent - Mr. Mohapi
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