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SITEKI – Head teachers in schools around Lubombo had to calm pupils and allay any fears when armed police officers arrived for the commencement of examinations yesterday.

In most of the school, head teachers addressed pupils during the morning assembly and tried to explain the rationale behind the deployment of the police.
It was gathered that in some schools, only the Form V pupils were informed about the deployment of the police.

However, despite the attempts by head teachers, most pupils could not understand what armed officers were doing in the premises of their schools.
“Bebanako kusaba but sase siyabakhulumisa (They had a little bit of fear but we then talked to them),” said Mpolonjeni High Head teacher, Matry Dlamini.
She further mentioned that teachers were also taken by surprise by the arrival of the police as they had not been notified prior by education officials in the region.

Nevertheless, Dlamini said the examination process proceeded well at her school, further expressing hope that the uncertainty created by teacher’s threats to disrupt the examination process would pass.
At Malindza High School, pupils were reportedly shocked by the arrival of the police.

As such, Head teacher Makhosazane Mkhonta had to explain what the officers were doing within the school premises.
 “I told them police we here to monitor the examination and not to arrest them for any petty offences they may have committed,” said Mkhonta.
She mentioned though that the examination proceeded well at her school.

Lusoti High Head teacher, Thamsanqa Masuku said he did not think pupils at the school were intimidated as he did explain to them why armed police were in the school premises. He also said the examination went accordingly, adding that there were no disturbances.
Meanwhile, Lubombo Central Head teacher Pilate Vilane, said there was less intimidation since only plain clothes police came closer to the examination rooms.
“The ones in uniform are at the gate, away from the exam room,” he stated. However, pupils at his school said they felt intimidated when they saw a police officer accompanying invigilators to the examination room.


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