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Judge orders Centum-backed SABIS school to cut fees 20pc

Sabis International School at Runda in Nairobi
Sabis International School at Runda in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

A judge has directed an international school backed by Centum Investment to slash third term fees by 20 per cent for online lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Justice James Makau said parents of the school in Runda, Nairobi, would only pay 80 per cent of the fees until the schools reopen.

SABIS International School had demanded full fees for online lessons, prompting parents under the initials SPG to sue, demanding a 50 per cent discount.

The judge ruled that the parents had proved that they are justified in seeking the orders regarding the service the educational institution renders under the Consumer Protection Act.

“I find that there is no doubt that students are direct consumer or beneficiaries of the service or facility provided by the first and second respondent schools, though all kinds of activities performed by the schools may not be classifiable as marketable service because of the nature of those particular services, but it does not support the complete exclusion of the school from the scope of consumer protection laws,” said the judge.

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The 20 per cent discount will apply pending the conclusion of the suit. Under the certificate of urgency, the parents note the school failed to offer fee discounts despite its campus in Runda remaining shut and not incurring overhead costs such as electricity, water, auditorium, library, laboratory and transport. The school additionally supplies textbooks, study material, notes, and other electronic materials to the students, all of which were no longer provided since the pandemic struck, argued SPG.

Other than the reduction of school fees, the parents also sought to compel the management to establish a parent-teachers’ association as required by law. The judge said the association matter would be determined after a full hearing.

The school maintained that the contract between the parents and the school is a private and the court ought not to intervene. But the parents countered saying that in May, the Association of Private Schools told its members that any learning or activity during the period should be treated as a separate programme or contract from normal school term.

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