Kenya

Court halts community learning

Court halts community learning

Summary

  • Mr Aura wants the court to direct the government to compensate private primary and secondary schools for the losses incurred due to the closure.
  • He wants the court to determine the legality of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on March 15, suspending schooling indefinitely due to coronavirus.

A government plan for resumption of learning in estates and villages following the closure of schools due to Covid-19 pandemic has suffered a setback.

The High Court Tuesday stopped the Ministry of Education from rolling out the community-based learning.

Justice James Makau issued the temporary order to Education CS George Magoha following a petition filed by a parent, Mr Joseph Enock Aura, challenging the government’s decision to close schools.

The judge certified the matter urgent and directed the parent to furnish the Attorney-General and ministries of Education, Health and the National Council for Children’s Services with the petition within two days so they can file their responses.

Mr Aura says the decision to close schools was draconian and a violation of learners’ rights and provisions of the Basic Education Act.

Legality of directive

He wants the court to determine the legality of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on March 15, suspending schooling indefinitely due to coronavirus.

According to him, the directive is questionable as it was neither published in the Kenya Gazette nor tabled in the National Assembly for debate and approval.

Mr Aura says the closure of schools is not a solution to a ‘little-known public health issue classified as Covid-19’, and whose mortality rate is not certifiable to date. “By subjecting the children to such prolonged closures from school due to unfounded reasons, there has been severity of pain and suffering on these pupils and students...,” reads the petition.

The father of three urges the court to declare that the conversion of 431 learning institutions and schools into Covid-19 quarantine facilities was in violation of the Public Health Act.

Mr Aura wants the court to direct the government to compensate private primary and secondary schools for the losses incurred due to the closure.

The petitioner is seeking orders to compel the Education ministry to reopen in-person learning institutions and schools from September 1. The case will be mentioned on September 9.