Parent Sues Education Minister, School Over US$8 000 Fee For E-Learning

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By Mary Taruvinga

DOMINICAN Convent, an elite Harare Roman Catholic-run school, has been dragged to court by a parent whose daughter was barred from accessing virtual classes after fees were increased from US$5 600 to US$8 000 per term.

The distraught parent, Tendai Rusinahana complained fees were hiked without notice, resulting in her failing to pay.

Rusinahana, cited Dominican Convent School, Kudzayi Mutsure, Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema, as respondents.

In her court application, she complained it was unlawful for the school to deny her daughter access to online classes.

“Upon realising that she had been blocked from accessing online classes, my daughter immediately made inquiries with (Mr) Chidavaenzi, one of the educators at the school and she was told to get clearance from the accounts department,” she wrote.

“I then took it upon myself to go to the school whereupon, I was told to pay fees if I wanted my child’s access to be restored.

“I was told that I was supposed to pay a fee for the second term which the first respondent, acting through a communication designed by the second respondent imposed on guardians in an unlawful manner,” said Rusinahana adding her daughter was being disadvantaged by the schools’ actions.

She complained the learning institution had not consulted parents when it increased the fees.

“Their decision to deny access to my child is, therefore, a direct violation of my child’s right to education, a derogation of their responsibility to act in the interests of the child and, therefore, a breach of the best interests of the child, discriminatory and disdain of the tenets of the law,” she said.

Rusinahana is seeking an order suspending the decision to bar her daughter’s access to classes.

She said the school demanded parents to pay ZW$48 000 or US$8 000, which she said was new and was communicated to parents on short notice.

Rusinahana said the agreed fee was US$5 600 before it was “illegally” increased in March to ZW$18 750 and the current ZW$48 000 as she also pointed out the increment was not done in terms of the Education Act.

Rusinahana complained Dominican Convent had severely jeopardised her child’s education in view of her impending final public examinations.