Parents of the Saint Andrews International Primary School( SAIPS) forced the Chair of the School’s Trustees Lance Mbewe after the parents of children at the school were grossly displeased and totally disappointed with the failure by the board to reign in the moribund acts of the School’s Senior Leadership Team led by Naomi Jn Charles.
The resignation comes in exactly three days shy of a month since the prestigious school made breaking news headlines on social and formal media when video clips of an assault of a teacher by G4s guards who were violently forcing the victim out of the school premises.
Before the disrespectful walk out by ex Politician Mr Lance Mbewe, parents had declared the forced resignation of Mr Karan Savjani for calling the first meeting of the parents with the board on 11th July 2022 ‘nonsense and bullshit’.
“The actual words he used that day was ” I have been sitting here for the last four and half hours listening to this nonsense and Bullshit”. This attracted animated calls for him to step down and apologise and he never apologised to date,” said one of the parents who attended the meeting.
Inside sources said there has been a period of heightened tension between a section of patents that were incensed by the perceived failure by the board to address a lot of complaints by teachers who were being abused by the Schools head teacher Naomi Jn Charles and Her Deputy Hanna Bradly.
The two are accused of running the school like a personal estate and brutally suppressing any attempts by members of staff at the school to speak out for sanity.
Immediately after the incident of violence at the School on Friday the 8th July 2022, parents called for an interface meeting with the board.
At the interface, parents came up with key concerns that included; the toxic working environment for teachers at the school that was forcing experienced and long serving teachers to either quit or being pushed out by Naomi, the change of the school uniform and school logo by the leadership without consulting stakeholders and procurements that were done without proper transparency and following open tendering process, inappropriate relstionship of the Headmistress with a junior member of staff that was amongst the sources of the frictious working relationship in the school and poor communication with stakeholders.
At the end of the meeting the parents demanded that the board investigate the matters as well as consider getting rid of the Senior leadership team in view of its failure to effectively lead the school and for showing unprofessional conduct.
The board accepted the points raised and asked the parents to put forward recommendations to the board within a week, which was duly done by the parents by Friday the 15th of July 2022.
Then once the recommendations were submitted to the board , the board started to behave with some level of lack of good faith including creating a parallel group of parents that called itself ” positive ” parents and which included the members of the board and their spouses as administrators.
The group went callings its ‘positive parents’ went underground after some parents challenged it for being a divide and rule instrument of the board.
The board then grudgingly responded to the recommendations after two weeks instead of the committed seven working days and when they did, they totally sidestepped all the recommendations by the parents and instead went in an exercise of profiling all the parents who had signed for the recommendations, purportedly to calculate how much the school had to raise fees to cover for those parents that would potentially withdraw their children.
“As a result the school sent individual notices to parents that the fees had gone up to K3.3 million including a development fund component, per term.”
“The profiling had an additional dark motive of targeting the children of the parents who signed the petition , for victimisation. The misplaced focus of the Senior Leadership and the board on retaliation, instead of addressing the recommendations, incensed parents ahead of the meeting on Friday which led to the heated exchanges that became too hot during the meeting and saw the Chair walk out of the meeting, effectively resigning,” said another parent who attended the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, a senior citizen who happens to be a member of the board, praised the parents for the determined fight to rid the school of a moribund leadership and a very ineffective Chair who failed to provide effective governance oversight and in the process risking the school to get into a state of chaos it has found itself in.
The school belongs to Government as part of the Designated Schools Board.
The silver lining is that with the resignation of the moribund board there is now an opportunity for Government to put in place a more competent board that will clean up the affairs at the school and make SAIPS prestigious again.