Concourt: Matric pupil wins court bid to force Education Department to allow him to write exams
A matric pupil in Limpopo has won his battle in the Constitutional Court on Monday to force the Basic Education Department to allow him to write his missed Business Studies Paper 2 matric examination after his principal refused him entry into the exam room in November.
Johannes Moko’s trouble began on 25 November 2020, when he arrived at his school in Limpopo to write the Business Studies Paper 2 Matric Examination.
He was stopped at the school gates by Tlou Mokgonyana - the Acting Principal of Malusi Secondary School - because he had failed to attend certain extra lessons.
Moko was instructed to fetch his parents, in order to discuss the missed extra lessons, and to not return to the school without them.
He left to find his guardians but, unable to do so, returned to the school, alone, sometime later. By the time he returned, the Business Studies Paper 2 Examination was underway. The Acting Principal refused Moko entry into the examination room and Moko subsequently missed the examination.
Various meetings with the Acting Principal and members of the Limpopo Department of Education ensued and Moko was informed that he would be able to write the supplementary examination in May 2021.
Unhappy with this decision, as he wished to pursue tertiary education at the start of 2021 and writing the examination in May would delay this, Moko brought an urgent application to the High Court for an order that he be given an opportunity to write the missed examination imminently. The High Court struck the matter off the roll for lack of urgency.
He then applied for leave to approach the Constitutional Court directly and on an urgent basis for an order that the conduct of the Acting Principal was inconsistent with the right to basic and further education in section 29(1) of the Constitution and that the he be afforded the opportunity to write the Business Studies Paper 2 Examination before the marking of the other Matric Examination scripts and the release of the other matric results.
On Monday, the ConCourt’s Justices made a unanimous decision in favour of Moko. They also condemned Limpopo High Court for its refusal to hear his urgent application.
In her judgment, Justice Sisi Khampepe granted Moko his leave for direct access to the ConCourt.
Justice Khampepe also found that the “conduct of Mokgonyana, which resulted in Moko’s inability to sit for the Business Studies Paper 2 examination on 25 November 2020, is declared to be a violation of the applicant’s right to education in section 29(1) of the Constitution.
The ConCourt also ordered the Education Authorities in Limpopo, Minister of Basic Education and Umalusi to grant Moko the opportunity to write the Business Studies Paper 2 by 15 January 2021.
“The result of the examination written in terms of this order is to be released simultaneously with the general release of the 2020 National Senior Certificate examination results in January or February 2021.
Mokgonyana, Limpopo MEC for Education; Head of the Department; Minister Angie Motshekga and Umalusi were jointly and severally ordered to be liable to pay the legal costs of Moko, including two counsels in the ConCourt and High Court.
None of them opposed the application.