Strict Rules put high-end schools, parents on collision course

Pupils take part in a classroom exercise supervised by their teacher at a charity run primary school, Shining Hope for Communities, in the sprawling Kibera slum in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on January 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA        (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
© TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images Pupils take part in a classroom exercise supervised by their teacher at a charity run primary school, Shining Hope for Communities, in the sprawling Kibera slum in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on January 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

There has been an increase in the number of high end private schools in the country, driven by the thirst for quality education.

Kenyans who can afford it prefer to take their children to these prestigious schools.

Class population is small and teachers can easily give every learner attention.

However, some parents have rubbed shoulders with the schools the wrong way, because of some policies they underestimated at the time their children joined the schools.

One of the policies is the requirement to give sufficient notice — usually one term — before withdrawing a child from the school. Usually, the parents are required to sign such an agreement.

Pay Fees 

The notice has to reach the headteacher before the opening of the term the pupil will leave. Failure to give the notice would mean that the parent pays fees for one term.

Interestingly, the courts have directed the complainants to make an appointment with the schools for fee clearance after holding that the question that falls for determination is the effect of the agreement.

In the case of Peponi School, Ruiru, which was demanding Sh293,300 from a parent who had removed his daughter without giving notice, High Court Judge Joseph Sergon had this to say.

“The parent applied for a chance in the school. His daughter was admitted to the school at an agreeable fee. Having signed the terms and conditions of fees and charges, the parent was bound by it,” justice Sergon in July 17, 2015.

Issue Notice 

On February 2, 2018, Justice Sergon directed a complainant to pay Braeburn, an international school, Sh896,741.

This was Sh585,321 fee the parents had not cleared as well as Sh311,420 for failing to issue a notice before removing the two children from the school.

In 2014, a court directed tycoon Ketan Somaia and his wife to settle Sh258,273 debt to Braeburn.

The order was issued when the two failed to defend the case, which related to failure to issue sufficient notice before removing their child from the school. They had been notified of the case through national dailies.

It would later emerge that Mr Somaia had bigger problems when he was sent to prison in Britain for fraud.

However, the schools have also had a taste of their own medicine when the very contracts were found wanting.

Application Form 

Last year, Justice Sergon stopped Braeburn from demanding Sh110,892 from the parents of a child who left without giving notice.

It emerged that it is not the parents who signed the application form.

“I have examined the evidence and it is apparent that none of the witnesses presented stated that the application form… was signed by any of the parents,” justice Sergon said on November 10, 2017.

He upheld the position earlier taken by the Magistrate’s Court, adding that the parents were not bound by the contents of the application form.

The form had not also been signed by the headteacher and the class teacher.

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