Parents win round one in St Bakhita fee increment row

School fees increase.

St Bakhita Primary and Junior Secondary sign board. 

Photo credit: Pool

Parents of St Bakhita have won a temporary reprieve after the High Court blocked the school from increasing fees, pending the determination of a petition they have filed.

Justice Janet Mulwa directed the management of the school to halt the increment of tuition, transport and co-curriculum fees, pending the hearing of the case that has been filed by over 1,000 parents.

“Pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs’ application dated 18th April 2024 prayer 2 and 3 in the notice of motion application are granted subject to plaintiffs paying the previous term’s school fees by 5th June 2024,” the judge said.

She directed the parties to appear before her on June 5, for highlighting of submissions. 

⁠The parents moved to court last month accusing the school, which runs St Bakhita Day-care & Kindergarten, primary and junior secondary schools on several campuses, of revising the fees by up to 20 percent midterm - citing inflation- a move that could disrupt their children learning.

But the parents disagree arguing that data available from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and Treasury show that headline inflation cooled further in March 2024 to 5.7 percent from 6.3 percent recorded in February 2024 and to 5.0 percent in April 2024.

They said in submissions filed in court that the easing was mainly attributed to the decline in prices of commodities under the food, transport, and housing indices.

Through lawyer Charles Mwalimu, the parents said they had a legitimate expectation that fee increment would be biennial as the management has over the years created a legitimate expectation that they will be treated in a certain way in the course of their engagements.

A fee structure seen by Business Daily indicates that Grade 6 parents will be required to pay Sh85,479 for tuition fees up from Sh69,495 per term. For transport, the parents will be paying Sh24,449 up from Sh23,458, while for stationery they will pay Sh3,200 from Sh2,525.

For co-curriculum activities, those in the dance club will have to pay twice the amount from Sh3,000 to Sh6,000. Parents for Grade 2 pupils will pay Sh82,516 for tuition fees up from Sh68,195.

It is the parents’ argument that varying the fees midway through the year left them with little or no bargaining power since a notice of three weeks, issued to them, was not sufficient to re-adjust their financial plans or transfer their children to other schools.

The management, however, opposed the grant of any order stating that a majority of the parents have already paid the new fees.

The board of management argued that it resolved to vary the school fees upwards due to the high and rising overhead costs that are driven by inflation and other costs.

The school further said the variation was in furtherance of the discretion allowed to the school’s management under clause 10 of the terms and conditions under the head- Fees and Charges.

“Therefore, noting that the contract between the schools and the plaintiffs granted the management the right to vary fees at its sole discretion as is demonstrated by various fee structures known to the plaintiffs, the legitimate expectation that the fees would be raised in 2025 is misplaced and without basis,” the management said through lawyer Dr Wilfred Mutubwa.

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