Tue | Nov 13, 2018

Calabar holds back - School to reconsider decision to expel about 50 underperforming grade 10 boys

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Calabar High School on Red Hills Road, St Andrew.

The leadership of Calabar High School is to review the cases of approximately 50 grade 10 boys who were expelled because they failed to meet the 60 per cent average set by the school for them to be accepted in grade 11.

News of the Red Hills Road, St Andrew, school reversing its position came late yesterday after the Ministry of Education intervened and ordered the institution to readmit all the students it had decided to expel.

In a letter to the Reverend Karl Johnson, chairman of the board of governors of Calabar, the ministry said that the students were expelled unfairly.

"The Ministry of Education ... is aware of the fact that a number of duly enrolled students at Calabar High School were advised, when they collected their report for the final term of the academic year 2017-18, that they had lost their space at the school," said the ministry.

"This is in clear breach of Regulations 29 to 31 of the Education Regulations (1980), which outline the conditions to be satisfied and the procedures to be followed when children are to be excluded permanently from school."

The letter said that 10 of the students, "who have been disenfranchised by the school", sought assistance from the ministry for placement in other institutions, but it was unable to do so.

"Consequently, I am now writing to advise you that all students who were expelled without due process are to be readmitted, without prejudice, to Calabar High School," said Dr Kasan Troupe, director of regional educational services in the ministry.

She urged Calabar to support the students who failed to make the 60 per cent average with the "available resources and the various services, facilities, and programmes developed by the ministry for struggling students".

Troupe, in a communique to chief education officer Dr Grace McLean late yesterday, said that during talks with the leadership of Calabar, she was told that the boys, who had averages of below 45 per cent, based on their grade nine results, had been exposed to several measures to improve their performance, including free after-school classes, which were poorly attended by them.

They were also given free Saturday classes, with bus fare and lunch money, which the school said they also failed to attend regularly.

But the school admitted that they were not given further support from the Guidance and Counselling Unit, which is a requirement in critical cases when expulsion is being considered.

To that end, the school has decided that meetings will be held with the boys and their parents to devise intervention strategies.

The boys will then be re-admitted to the school with full participation in a specialised academic programme and a psycho-social treatment plan. Funding support will also be offered to offset examination costs.

In a May 14, 2018, letter to parents, Calabar's Principal, Albert Corcho, indicated that to be promoted to Grade 11, each boy must receive no less than 60 per cent for his overall average, along with good conduct.

Corcho also made it clear that boys would not be allowed to repeat grade 10, signalling that they would not be kept in school if they failed to make the grade.

He added that there were some grade 10 students who had been pre-selected to attend mandatory summer school based on their averages over the first two terms, as "it is clear that they have not mastered the grade 10 portion of the syllabus".

editorial@gleanerjm.com