Parents of a prestigious school in Mombasa have lost a bid to have the court order reduction of school fees for the virtual learning education (VLE).
The parents also wanted the Mombasa court to declare illegal any deregistration that would be carried out by Shree Swaminarayan Academy if they opt not to have their children attend online classes.
But Judge Erick Ogola said the court did not have authority to decide how much a private institution should charge as its fees for the programme. He said the parents have so many other options and were at liberty to opt out if not satisfied with the school’s decision.
The judge further noted that allegations by the parents that they were denied a fair hearing were baseless as the evidence adduced before court indicated the aggrieved parents had a meeting with the school board.
He said even though the parents and the school did not reach a consensus, the fact remained that they were given an opportunity to present their grievances.
Ogola said the parents also consented to the system as they did not object to it and it was assumed that they had consented and therefore they should not claim their views were never taken into consideration.
He noted the petitioners had an option of opting out of the virtual learning and so their children can go back to physical classrooms once schools are reopened.
He said no major difference would have been made as schools have been barred from stopping learners who opted out of virtual learning to proceed to the next class when the new school year kicks off unless the policy is applied across all learners and not only to those who opted out.
Ogola, however, cautioned the school against using harsh language against the parents who could not pay the required fees. He said it was time for people, including the school management, to be humanly responsible and sympathetic to the parents and generous in demanding the fees.
“It is not the time to use threatening language to parents, or the time to tell them to take away their children if they cannot afford the fees, or are uncomfortable with the VLE,”he said.
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