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High Court stops school from discontinuing learners over unpaid fees

By Joackim Bwana | July 4th 2020

The High Court in Mombasa has temporarily stopped Shree Swaminarayan Academy from discontinuing students whose parents have not paid full fees for online classes.

Yesterday, Justice Eric Ogola directed the institution to restore Virtual Learning Education (VLE) online system for access by all learners.

“An order is issued restraining the respondent from deregistering and discontinuing any learner from the institution and its VLE online system on account of non-payment of full school fees on or before June 26, 2020 by the learners parents,” said Justice Ogola.

He also stopped the school from making the online classes compulsory until the issue is heard and determined.

The parents’ lawyer Daniel Ngonze wants the court to compel the institution to register all learners who had earlier been de-registered from the online system.

“A declaration that the institution’s deregistration and discontinuation of any learner from the VLE on account of failure to pay full fees during the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic is unconstitutional, null and void,” said Ngonze.

Parents also want the court to restrain the school from victimizing children whose parents have opted not to be part of the programme.

“On June 29, 2020 the institution disconnected E-learning for all learners whose fees had not been settled in full by close of business of June 26, 2020 and the parents of the said minors were removed from respective WhatsApp group forum,” said Ngonze.

He said parents had sought a 50 per cent reduction of the fees to give them relief following the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the school gave a rebate fee discount of 65 per cent to play group, 30 per cent to kindergarten and 10 per cent to the rest of the school. The school said they were flexible to instalment payment and promised that no learner would be victimised on any grounds.

The institution closed the second term on March 16 this year following the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and commenced home based learning on April 6 2020 through VLE.  

The parents sued the institution and the registered trustees of the Shree Cutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple Charitable Trust.

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