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Parent sues Principal over exorbitant school fees

A man who moved to court seeking admission of his son to a high school while protesting high fees got reprieve after a judge allowed him to pay just a fraction.

Michael Mutinda Mutemi sued the Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, the Director of Public Prosecution and two secondary school heads – Dagoretti High and Friends School Senende.

While seeking his matter certified urgent, he told High Court judge Weldon Korir that the principal of Dagoretti High School had denied his son admission to the school because he had not cleared a fee of Sh 85,000, which he could not raise.

Mr Mutemi claimed that the principal was guilty of insubordination since he wants parents to pay a higher fee than what is recommended by the ministry, besides the fact that schools get funds from the national government.

He argued that parents are required to top up just a little amount of money, which should not exceed Sh20,000 or Sh 12,000, the amount every high school gets per each student.

DENIED ADMISSION

Mr Mutemi also told the judge that attempts by the Dagoretti District Education Officer (DEO) Benjamin Muthengi and the Nairobi County director of education could not move the school’s principal to admit his son.

“In sheer disregard of the Basic Education Act, the Principal of Dagoretti High has denied admission to my son on account of not having the entire fees, turning my child back for this reason is unconstitutional given that nonpayment of the high fees is illegal and malicious,” he said.

Considering his pleas to the court that the child would miss out classes because of the unjust situation, Mr Justice Korir ordered that the son be admitted to the said school without completing the required mandatory fees.

“It is hereby ordered that the Principal of Dagoretti High should admit the child on condition that his parent pays a sum of Sh 20,000 being a quarter of the total fees,” said the judge.

The judge also directed that the sued parties be provided with the suit documents for an inter-party hearing on February 26.

PLOY TO CON

According to Mr Mutemi, his son has not yet reported to the school he was selected to join for secondary studies after receiving a letter on February 12 because he did not clear the ‘high’ fees.

He also alleged that forcing parents with their children in that school to purchase uniform in the school is a ploy to con them as the items are sold at an expensive price as compared to other school uniform outlets.

“I am positive the said fees indicated on the proposed fees structure does not comply with the Basic Education Act and it is therefore illegal,” he said.

A circular dated February 7, 2014 by Education Cabinet Secretary to Secondary School heads indicates that schools are not supposed to increase fees beyond what was charged in 2013 and that government grant to schools had increased from Sh 10,265 to Sh 12,870.

The circular also stated that projects in schools should not affect new students admitted this year and that the government would take disciplinary action against any school principal who contravenes the directive.