The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Monday ruled that an acting school principal’s refusal that a grade 12 pupil write a final paper was a violation of the latter’s right to basic education.
The court handed down judgement in an urgent application brought by grade 12 pupil, Johannes Moko, versus the acting school principal at Malusi Secondary School, Limpopo.
On 25 November, the acting school principal barred Moko from entering the school to write his Business Studies Paper 2 final exam on the basis that he had missed some extra lessons.
The acting school principal instructed Moko to return to school with his parents or guardian but he could not find either at home.
He went back to school alone and was refused entry into the examination room.
Following various meetings the provincial Department of Education held with the acting school principal, Moko was told that he would write the paper in May 2021.
However, he was not happy with this decision and approached the High court in Limpopo where the matter was struck off the urgent roll of the court, prompting Moko to approach the Constitutional Court.
Moko wanted the court to rule that he write the paper before others were marked and the results were released because a failure to do so would interfere with his plans to enrol at an institution of higher learning.
In a unanimous judgement, the court granted Moko leave to approach it directly on an urgent basis and held that a lack of urgent relief could adversely impact the pupil’s future.
“It held further that the circumstances in this matter were of an exceptional nature and Mr Moko had raised compelling reasons for direct access.
“It was therefore in the interest of justice to grant leave to approach the Constitutional Court directly and on an urgent basis.”
The court ordered the provincial Department of Education and Umalusi, who were respondents in the matter, to allow Moko to write the exam in January 2021 and that his results from the paper should be included with all the results once they are released.
(2/2) Judgment: The Department of Basic Education is ordered to give the applicant an opportunity to write the missed examination at the start of January 2021. (Moko v Acting Principal of Malusi Secondary School and Others) pic.twitter.com/Dmhh6mFCtC
— Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) December 28, 2020