Court orders private schools to remain open

September 21, 2015 12:11 pm
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Justice Mumbi Ngugi suspended the circular issued by the Ministry of Education ordering closure of all schools in the country due to the ongoing teachers’ strike. The judge while issuing the ruling said private schools were not part of the teachers’ strike/FILE
Justice Mumbi Ngugi suspended the circular issued by the Ministry of Education ordering closure of all schools in the country due to the ongoing teachers’ strike. The judge while issuing the ruling said private schools were not part of the teachers’ strike/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – The High Court on Monday allowed private schools to continue with studies for the third term following an application by the Kenya Private Schools Association.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi suspended the circular issued by the Ministry of Education ordering closure of all schools in the country due to the ongoing teachers’ strike. The judge while issuing the ruling said private schools were not part of the teachers’ strike.

The private schools association through their lawyer, Muturi Kamande, told the court that about 2 million primary and secondary school students will suffer if they are not allowed to continue with their studies.

Kamande further told the court that parents of students in private schools had already paid fees for third term and the ongoing strike has nothing to do with them.

Judge Ngugi directed that the application be served upon Education Cabinet Secretary and Attorney General Githu Muigai for the matter to be heard inter-parties on September 24, 2015.

Last Friday, the government called for closure of schools explaining that it was a measure to safeguard security of students, their staff and school property.

READ: Govt orders closure of all 8-4-4 schools due to teachers strike

Some private schools heeded the directive and closed while others have continued to operate within their usual school calendar.

Earlier on Monday, Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary General Musau Ndunda asked the Ministry of Education to authorise all schools that had closed to refund parents third term fees.

He said most schools were unlikely to carry forward the fees paid for third term to next year as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday. Ndunda threatened that the association would move to court to sue the government if a directive for a refund was not issued within the next seven days.

Ndunda further supported closure of schools saying the government was right in considering security of children during the teachers’ strike. However he urged the government to convene a stakeholders meeting for to discuss all aspects affecting the education system.

In his view, the teachers’ pay increase was not the only matter that requires to be addressed.

He, for example, called for overhaul of budgetary allocation to public schools alleging that there was massive corruption. In his view, there was no a proper accountability measure to interrogate how money pumped to public schools was used.

Though he supported the teachers’ pay increase he also insisted that teachers should be ready to sign performance contracts that will review their work. He further said they should be ready to be posted to work anywhere in the country instead of sticking to their home areas as was the case.

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