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Court order three schools to establish parents' association within 120 days

By Julius Chepkwony | September 5th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Crawford International School during an international schools fair at Village Market. [File, Standard]

The High Court has ordered three institutions to each establish a parents’ association.

Crawford International School, Brookhouse Schools Limited and Oshwal Academy had been sued by parents and guardians of the minors in the schools.

Justice Weldon Kipyegon Korir, in three separate judgments delivered on Thursday, directed the schools to each have a parents association in place within 120 days.

The ruling

The judge noted that the institutions are obliged by law and the Constitution to consider the best interests of children whenever they make any policy decisions or changes that would affect their schooling.

He said the schools must consequently consult and obtain consent of their parents before implementing policies or changes.

In May, Crawford International School's parents claimed violation of their rights and those of their children through introduction of virtual learning programme by the school and its directors.

The disputed virtual learning programme was introduced by the institution's directors following closure of schools by the Government of Kenya due coronavirus threat.

The parents in the school claimed that although the institutions continue to levy full fees, some subjects and activities, including educational trips, library, swimming pool, computers, debating and speaking were not being offered.

They claimed that under the Consumer Protection Act, 2012, it was unlawful for the school to mislead parents by failing to give them the information they needed to make decisions.

The school and its directors were accused of violating Section 55 of the Basic Education Act by failing to establish a parents association.

The court had been asked to issue an order compelling institutions to each establish a parents’ association.

Parents of minors schooling at Oshwal Academy, on their part, said the school violated Section 55(3) of the Basic Education Act, 2013, by failing to establish a parents and teachers’ association.

The case was similar to that of Brookhouse School's parents.

The parents had also sought a court order compelling the school directors to only charge for service offered, which is the virtual class or digital class.

The parents also said the school and its directors are obliged under the Constitution and by law to consider the best interests of the children whenever any policy decisions are made and they must be consulted and their consent obtained before the policies are implemented.

“An order of mandamus be and is hereby issued directing the first respondent (The Oshwal Education Relief Board) to immediately and without further delay, and in any case not later 120 days from the date of this judgement, establish a parents and teachers’ association in terms of Section 55(3) of the Basic Education Act, 2013,” read one of the judgements.  

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