Inside St Boniface – St Boniface Rubbishes Leak Claims

MARY Phyllis Yesudan, the no-nonsense principal of St Boniface College near Rundu in the Kavango East region, yesterday afternoon laughed off allegations that the prestige school owes its good Grade 12 Ordinary Level fortune to leaked examination papers.

According to her, the architect of these defamatory allegations is a former teacher whose contract of employment was not renewed after it had lapsed.

She said the male teacher had overstayed his welcome in the pale pink flatlets and neat classrooms of St Boniface as a result of poor work performance.

Baying for the school’s blood, this man allegedly went on a countrywide rampage to bring the school’s honour and good name into disrepute. “It is well known in the country.

This happened a few years back. [Those were] pure allegations [with] no proof.”

Yesudasan maintained that their outstanding results were not facilitated with the assistance of leaked question papers.

Two separate sources phoned The Namibian yesterday, claiming that the newspaper’s Inside St Boniface series this week failed to expose the real reason for the school’s success: Yesudasan and her team buy question papers from corrupt officials of the Ministry of Education’s directorate of national examinations. This enables her to instruct teachers exactly what to teach their Grade 12 learners in order to pass with flying colours.

Once these ‘star performers’ reach the examination halls of a tertiary institution, they excel in failing, the sources alleged.

One said his children’s cousin, who aced Grade 12 in 2013 at St Boniface, failed her BEducation first year so badly last year that the University of Namibia (Unam) has refused the prospective teacher to register as a second-year student. According to another, a high-profile police probe is underway to investigate the claims.

Upon enquiry, David Namwandi, the Minister of Education, gasped for breath, saying that he was deeply disturbed by what the newspaper had told him.

He was unaware of the allegations and had he known earlier, he would not have left any stone unturned to unmask the culprits. “That amounts to a criminal offence,” he charged.

At the same time, Namwandi said he had been following the Inside St Boniface series with a keen interest. Some of the aspects highlighted by the reports were news to him. “Even as a minister, I didn’t know about some of these things.” About the entire teaching staff hailing from outside Namibia, Namwandi wanted to know whether Namibians are not appointed or do not apply.

Earlier this week, Yesudasan said during 2007, two Unam education graduates had a brief stint at the school but swiftly vacated the St Boniface kitchen as the heat was too much for them. Celebrating mediocrity is not one of her gifts, Yesudasan emphasised.

Namwandi said he was also taken aback by the school’s practice to disallow parents from inspecting the school’s hostels before registering their children.

A parent interested in enrolling her child at the Catholic school said she had her reservations about not being allowed to see in what conditions her child will be housed. Apart from not having time to entertain such visits because of their workload, this is a custom she had inherited when she took over the reigns in 2003, the principal explained.

A police spokesperson, Inspector Slogan Matheus, yesterday equally said he was unaware of these allegations.

Meanwhile, not all the fifteen teachers are happy with their remuneration. They receive only a basic salary without any fringe benefits, like medical aid and membership of a pension fund. Their basic salary amounts to an in-the-pocket amount of N$14 000 on average.

Because teachers do not have access to a medical aid fund, they have to resort to State facilities or else fork out money for private facilities.

The in-depth coverage of the goings-on at St Boniface College has left The Namibian’s readership divided: Many sing the school’s praises for it’s accomplishments, while others are irked by what they describe as a correctional facility not ultimately grooming well-balanced adults.

Yesudasan is non-apologetic when she says the only escape from the hell of poverty of Namibia is through quality education.

Source : The Namibian