By Bida Elly David
National Ministry of General Education and Instructions threatens to close private schools in the country that violate academic calendar.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, the deputy minister of general education, Martin Tako Moi, said they have spotted some private schools, both primary and secondary, already registering students.
“We declared here that schools would open on February 5, but to our surprise, we were informed by our security organs and parents that some of the private schools have already started to register,” he said.
The ministry, last week, unveiled the 2024 academic year calendar, scheduling February 5th for the official opening and directed school not to commence registration of students until primary examinations are marked.
However, the deputy minister noted spotting some private schools registering students before the declaration of the results, saying it jeopardizes the academic calendar.
Moi warned the administration of the indiscipline schools, saying they are not above the law.
However, he neither disclosed the names of the schools registering learners, nor, when they were going to investigate.
“How are these schools admitting learners without primary or secondary certificates before it is declared by the national examination council? It is a violation of the law, and we are taking very serious administrative steps against them,” he echoed.
The deputy minister further said they, as the ministry, are responsible for the education policy of South Sudan, vowing not to leave those schools unpunished.
“We are taking serious measures to have these people apprehended and even close the schools as per administrative measures,” he stressed.
Moi said they have been sympathizing with the learners of these schools but remain serious about taking measures.
He underlined that some private schools accept foreign certificates without being certified by the national examination.
“Foreign certificates have to be verified by the examination council. Anybody cannot just come and register at any private school,” he stated.
However, the deputy minister did not state a constitutional article from the Education Act indicating punitive measures against schools for violations.
“We have our national education act, our legal advisors that will be their roles; what we have resolved is anybody found registering; we have administrative measures of closure and the law,” he said.
Cirisio Zekaria, the Central Equatoria State Minister of General Education, and instructions also stated that they are going to send an inspection team with tight security to beef up those private schools already conducting registration.
“We are very serious this time because they have turned deaf ears to our directives. We thought private schools were law-abiding institutions with good academic status, but not,” he said.
The minister stated that they have no problem with the private institutions but will call them to order since they take the law into their own hands.
He cautioned parents against registering their children before the commencement of the academic calendar as produced.
“Some parents take their children for registration without knowing that we, as the government, have directed opening schools in February. Parents shouldn’t be victims of such circumstances with their money,” he said.
Last year, the national minister of general education, Awut Deng, warned private schools against hefty school fees for learners.
She vowed punitive measures against schools that shall be traced charging high fees compared to what the government directed.