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Student sues Meru school over extra Sh44,000 fee.

A student has sued her school for sending her home over its seven-year loan.

Dennissa Tei Kirimi,the daughter of a prominent Meru lawyer, sued St Mary's Girls High School for sending her away over the school's Sh44 million loan.

About 600 students were sent home on Saturday and Sunday. Each parent is required to pay Sh44,000 above the normal fees to settle the KCB loan.

The school took the loan in 2012 to build a one-storey dormitory housing about 500 students.

Kirimi Mbogo, representing his daughter, said it was illegal as the government guides the fee structure for all government schools. St Mary's is a national school and the fee has been set at Sh53,554.

"I paid my daughter's fee for the entire year on January 14 but I refused to pay the Sh44,000. My daughter told me many of her friends will not afford the Sh44,000 considering the economic state of the country and many will be forced to leave school,"Mbogo said.

The case was before judge Alfred Mabeya.

Mabeya said according to the Constitution and the Children's Act, the interest of the child is paramount.

"The child who is due to sit for her end year examinations which will shape her future and career will have been irreversibly affected unless the status quo isreinstated."

He said the first defendant in the case (board of management) should readmit the student and not later than 10:30am on Wednesday, July 3.

Respondents can file their responses to the application within 10 days, he said. The application will be heard on July 17.

Mbogo said his daughter pushed him to file the case and is willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

He said the Constitution, which upholds the right to education, will be given substance in this case.

"This suit is not about my daughter or about the Sh44,000. It is much bigger than that because the issue raised in court is about if there is a breach of the right to education by sending her away from school. She is a candidate and a presidential directive said no child should be charged extra fees under any circumstance," he said.

The ruling will assist many students who cannot afford the money, the lawyer said.

Kirimi said she is a victim of a bank loan taken even before she knew she would join that school.

"We demand justice. I have already lost three days. I want to be a lawyer and I can't do that when I am away from school. I will be a voice for the voiceless who cannot afford the amount," she said.

She said she was happy with the ruling.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 4, 2019
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