The Ministry of Education has admitted that there were some anomalies in this year's Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) results for some private schools and has since promised to rectify the error.
This follows outrage from the Independent Schools Association of Malawi (Isama) who have trashed the 2012 MSCEresults report by the ministry, calling it 'a false compilation of incorrect information'.
Isama has since threatened court action against government in the absence of an apology for publicising wrong examination results which "portrays private schools as failed education entities".
The private schools further request government for a commission of inquiry into why the ministry and the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) continue to give wrong information to the public on the 2012 MSCEresults.
Isama president Joseph Patel told reporters in Lilongwe on Friday that some students and their guardians have been bombarding the private schools after the ministry published a list of out-dated and wrong names on December 22 that left out hundreds of names of candidates who performed well and schools.
"Isama informed the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and Maneb that the names being announced on radios and newspapers were not a true reflection of 2012 MSCE results, but they insisted that they were the rights results," he said.
But Ministry of Education spokesperson Lindiwe Chide said the motive of her ministry was not to discredit any stakeholder but to promote dialogue because of growing concern that standards of education appear to be going down in the country.
"I note that the file on private schools which we used was indeed wrong. It was for 2011. We shall be putting a correction soon. There was a technical problem but the aim was not to discredit any players. Private schools are integral in this respect," she said.
Chide could, however, neither indicate when the results will be corrected nor whether the ministry will apologise for the anomaly.
But Patel insisted that the ministry was not being honest. He said since 2010 Isama has been expressing concern with how the ministry and Maneb have been handling examination results.
Isama said actions by government are increasing misery for private schools as parents and guardians suspect they are giving out wrong results simply to make business gains when reality is that "private schools are performing far much better than public schools".
"Isama wishes to inform the students who got below 15 points at our member schools that the results remain the same and they don't have to panic due to the wrong press release. We are asking parents not to trust the results announced by Ministry of Education through media houses but results Maneb sends to respective schools," he said.
The anomalies have been noted in results for schools such as Marist Brothers Private in Dedza, Mary Mount Girls Private in Mzuzu, Saint Kizito Seminary Private in Dedza, Mawila Private Secondary in Machinga, Matindi Girls Academy in Lilongwe, William Murray, New Era, Michiru View and Joel Private Secondary in Mzuzu, among others.
Isama says the good results attained in private schools in the country are a direct result of organisations that have invested heavily in better facilities required in learning such as qualified teachers, libraries, computer laboratories, physical science and biology laboratories and learning materials.