‘I was fired for refusing to write exams for pupils’

2014-05-08 00:00

A HIGH school teacher fired allegedly for being under-qualified, has turned the tables on his employers, the Department of Education, claiming they fired him because he refused to write exams for matric pupils.

Omojola Dada Yewande, a mathematics and science teacher from Nigeria at the Sibongumusa Secondary School in KwaSwayimane, was fired in March this year for being under-qualified. He had been employed there since 2009.

He says he has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, postgraduate diploma in financial management, and a postgraduate certificate in education from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

However, he alleges that he is being victimised after he refused to follow the school principal’s orders to write end of year exams for the pupils. It’s been alleged that pupils are assisted to pass their matric.

The school results since 2008 show that in 2008 the pass rate was 74%, in 2009 it was 82%, in 2010 it was 84%, in 2011 it was 56%, in 2012 it was 92% and last year, 52%.

He said last year the principal ordered him to write exams for the pupils.

“I refused. They later turned the students against me to say they did not understand me when I teach them,” said Yewande.

He reported everything to the department but said he ended up being the victim. He tried to get a transfer from the district office of the department after the incident but was unsuccessful.

“I only received a letter telling me that my contract had been terminated,” said Yewande.

He has launched a complaint with the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) where he seeks to be reinstated and placed in another school.

Three former pupils confirmed that the practice of teachers writing their exams for them was common at their school.

“Everyone can tell you about this,” said a university student who did not want to be named.

Sihle Mlotshwa, the spokesperson for the Department of Education, said anyone who has evidence that students are helped to write matric papers should come forward and assist the department.

Mlotshwa said the department had terminated Yewande’s employment due to discrepancies with his qualifications, after he had not submitted the relevant certificates for his qualification.

He said Yewande obtained his first qualification — a Bachelor of Science, Honours — in Nigeria, which was accepted by the National Department of Education and evaluated as REQV 15, but said professionally he was unqualified because of outstanding certificates.

He said in 2013, trying to tighten up on fraud, the department issued a directive that any teacher entering the system need to submit their actual certificates together with their transcripts.

He said the department had recognised Yewande’s results but kept requesting that he submits his actual certificates. To date he has only handed in his BSc degree certificate but the postgraduate diploma in financial management is still outstanding, said Mlotshwa.

“He was even granted leave to go to Nigeria to collect his certificates but to no avail. The department has waited since 2009 for him to submit his certificates which he obtained in 2000 and 2001 …

“For him to be permanent he must have complied with the entire requirement which he has not done,” said Mlotshwa.

Yewande said the system in his country and South Africa are different because certificates are only issued by universities ten years after the student has passed their exams and has the relevant work experience.

“I submitted everything I had to the department; they just don’t want me in the department because the university even explained this to them,” said Yawande.

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