HC Deb 07 December 1959 vol 615 cc16-8W
Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in what circumstances it was recently decided to close an African secondary school near Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia. for an indefinite period.

Mr. J. Amery

, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th November, 1959, Vol.613 c.114] supplied the following information:

Following the publication on 24th October last of an essay written by one of the pupils at Munali Secondary School for an international competition, in which the writer advocated co-operation between Africans and Europeans in Central Africa and praised the work of Europeans in the area, the schoolboy concerned and some of his friends were subjected to hostile criticism and demonstrations by other boys who disagreed with the views expressed in the essay. This hostility continued despite warnings given by the principal of the school, the boys personal belongings and school equipment were damaged, and it was made known surreptitiously that the state of unrest would continue until the student left the school.

On 28th October two boys who admitted responsibility for some of these incidents were expelled, but the continuing unrest also led to a number of pupils leaving the school as a result of intimidation. On 29th October, therefore, the principal, after discussion with the Secretary for African Education, announced that the school would be closed unless normal conditions were restored and those responsible for the trouble reported to him in forty-eight hours. There was no response to this appeal and, after further discussions with Mr. Musumbulwa, the Minister for African Education, the school was closed on 2nd-3rd November.

Boys in the upper VIth were however given the opportunity, if they wished, to remain at the school until the end of their Higher School Certificate examination, and arrangements were also made for IVth form boys to be able to return to take their Cambridge School Certificate examination.

It has since been announced that the school will re-open on 7th January.