School Sued for Barring Pupil From Writing Exams

By Fungai Lupande
A parent, whose daughter was barred from sitting for Ordinary Level examinations this year due to fees arrears, is suing the school at the High Court. Mavis Jakarasi has taken Arundel School to court seeking a declaratory order saying the school had no authority to prevent her child from sitting the examinations since examination and centre fees had been paid.

The respondents are the Trustees of Arundel School.

In her application, Jakarasi said her daughter has been a student since the beginning of 2019 and registered to sit for her Cambridge ‘O’ Level examinations for October and November, 2019.

However, due to fees arrears the child was not attending school since the beginning of third term of 2019 because she was constantly being sent back home.

“The problem arose when my child appeared to sit for her first examination on October 15, 2019, English Paper 2. The respondent’s school official, the Headmistress Mrs Pauline Makoni and her officials refused to allow her to sit for her examination,” read the application.

Jakarasi said she approached Justice for Children for assistance and the lawyers issued a letter of demand for the school to allow the child to sit for her examinations but she turned down.

She was advised that tuition had been raised to $44 000 for the term, and that the amount she owed them had equally increased on the day her daughter missed her second exam.

Jakarasi paid $18 000 and her daughter was allowed to sit for her History examination on October 18, 2019.

On October 21, 2019, the student was barred from writing her Mathematics examination and the school demanded that she pays the balance first.

“Though I owe tuition arrears, the school’s decision to bar my child from writing examinations that are not property or a program of Arundel School, but an independent external examinations body, on the basis of fees I owe to the school is unacceptable,” read the papers.

“Cambridge Examinations is an independent body to which I made full payment. That payment includes the examination fee and the centre fee. The child is thus fully paid to use Arundel School as an examination centre. “The respondents have ample mechanisms available to them at law to pursue debt recovery against me than to bar her child from writing her examinations.”

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