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The High Court in Mombasa has ordered parents of Oshwal Academy to pay half the fees as the school conducts its optional virtual online classes.

On Wednesday, Justice P J Otieno directed that parents who wish to have their children tutored through the Virtual Learning Education (VLE) to pay 50 per cent of the fees.

“All parents who have not paid fees and are keen to have the lessons delivered to their children pay up to 50 per cent of the fees within 20 days from today,” said Justice Otieno. The judge also extended his order dated May 5, 2020 that stopped the school from charging parents full fees for the third term, which will be conducted via VLE.

The parents, through their lawyer Daniel Ngonze, moved to court in protest of the school’s demand that full fees be paid by May 21, 2020 or risk their children being deregistered.

SEE ALSO: Online classes or private tutor? Parents’ dilemma as schools remain closed

Oshwal Academy, a leading private school, follows the British system. The school told parents through an email that their children will only be admitted upon full payment of fees.

The fees for a term ranges between Sh48,000 for those in pre-primary school to Sh186,000 for those in the 13th year, plus additional transport charges (Sh16,500 to Sh22,000), and lunch services (Sh16,500 to Sh20,000). Justice Otieno suspended the current school term that commenced on April 4, because it is not the normal school term that the Ministry of Education anticipated.

The judge also stopped the school from broadcasting and conducting the VLE. This order will remain until the petition by the parents is heard and determined.

Mr Ngonze described the school’s actions as a display of arrogance, arbitrariness, self-centred decision making and a lack of accountability.

Ngonze said the fees paid by a number of petitioners for 2019-2020 towards the education service provided in VLE system was illegal, unconstitutional, unreasonable and therefore null and void.

SEE ALSO: US to force out foreign students taking classes fully online

Ngonze said the parents’ consumer rights guaranteed under Article 46 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 as read together with Consumer Protection Act 2012 have been contravened by the school.

“The provision of online classes without consulting the parents, providing them with sufficient and relevant information for decision making was an unsolicited service within the meaning of Consumer Protection Act,” said Ngonze.

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