A private school in Runda was on Thursday July 30 ordered by a Nairobi court to cut fees charged to students by 20 percent pending re-opening of schools in January next year.
According to the Daily Nation, Justice James Makau disclosed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic students of SABIS International School were not getting the agreed full package of lessons and therefore cannot be charged 100 percent of the total fees.
Justice Makau directed SABIS school to charge 80 percent of the fees agreed between it and the parents from the third term of 2019 up to when the Ministry of Education will announce resumption of in-person classes countrywide sometime in January 2021.
The judge declined to grant a plea by the parents to pay 50 percent of the fees. He also declined a plea by the school not to interfere with the way it was charging fees since it was a private contract between it and the parents.
The school argued that it was offering virtual lessons following the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The judge added that the parents have proven that their consumers rights will be violated since their children are not getting the full package of lessons and other services signed in the contract.
“Pending hearing and subsequent determination of the petition a conservatory order staying the implementation of payment of full fees, the petitioners are allowed to offset up to and 20 percent of payment so as to pay 80 percent of payment of full fees for term three, of the school year 2019-2020 or until schools are re-opened under the directions of the Ministry of Education,” ruled Justice Makau.
The respondents had stated the conservatory orders sought were in the realm of public law and courts have shown restraint in granting such orders in private law disputes.
The judge overruled the respondents saying the petitioners have met the legal threshold to warrant the conservatory order.
“The petitioners are likely to suffer prejudice as a result of the violation or threatened violation if the orders sought are not granted,” ruled Justice Makau.
The court allowed the parents to use abbreviations (SPG) in the case they filed against SABIS school, the directors of the school, the Attorney-General and the Education minister so as to protect the identity of the students.