NAIROBI, Kenya May 14 – The High Court Wednesday allowed Brookhouse Schools to resume virtual learning for Kindergarten to Year 4 pupils in the wake of coronavirus which has seen the suspension of classroom learning countrywide.
The court issued the directions while varying an order it issued on April 30 stopped online classes for Kindergarten to Grade IV on April 30, pending the determination of a petition by parents accusing the school management of maintaining high school fee rates which were only deducted by 10 per cent despite the closure of schools.
In the ruling delivered by Justice Weldon Korir, the court noted that the new the directive will only apply to students who wish to take part in the online classes.
“Order Number 4 issued on 30th April 2020 be is hereby varied to allow virtual classes to resume for all Kindergarten to Year 4 pupils for those who wish to take part and all parties
undertake not to take any prejudicial action against each other,” Justice Korir noted.
“The above variation is without prejudice to the position the Petitioners have taken to the virtual classes in this litigation,” he added while giving a determination in the petition against Directors, Brookhouse School, Attorney General, Brookhouse Schools Ltd and Ministry of Education.
In their petition, the Brookhouse Parents Association had expressed concern that the discontinuation of the online classes had caused great hardship for the school’s 313 pupils below Grade IV.
“They were introduced to virtual learning that mitigated the effects that COVID-19 had on their education. They had started liking the new routine, and the sudden stop of virtual learning has undoubtedly brought psychological torture to them. They cannot understand why learning has been stopped,” the parents association had stated in the petition.
A separate group of parents from the school identified as DPGT was also enjoined in this case.
Justice Korir further said that the Attorney General should file a response to the petition on behalf of the Ministry of Education within 14 days.
“Attorney General on behalf of the 3rd and 4th Respondents to file and serve responses to the Petition and Submissions within 14 days from today’s date,” Justice Korir said.
Brookhouse School welcomed the move noting that a previous court ruling which ordered slashing of school fees by 50 per cent was inconsiderate having the effect to leave its staff with an uncertain future.
“The maintenance of the 50 per cent cap on school fees still leaves staff at the school with an uncertain future. It is hoped that the hearing of the main Petition, scheduled for 8 June 2020, will bring clarity to this situation.”
In the previous ruling, Justice Korir had ordered the School to reduce fees by half after the parents, in their petition, termed the 10 per cent discount as inadequate.
The school maintains that the decision to offer 10 per cent discount was informed by what other schools within its league are offering in the wake of disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The main petition will be heard on June 8.