A ZIMBABWEAN court has declared unconstitutional the practice by some school authorities of withholding examination results for students as a way to induce payment of outstanding school fees.
High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi recently ruled that the refusal by authorities at Ihlathi High School in Bulawayo to release Ordinary Level examination results of a student over non-payment of school fees is unlawful and unconstitutional as it infringes on the student’s constitutional rights enshrined in section 75 and 81 of the Constitution.
Justice Mathonsi also referred the matter to the Constitutional Court.
Justice Mathonsi granted the order after Prudence Moyo, who was represented by Bruce Masamvu of Dube-Tachiona Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners, in a matter supported by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, petitioned the High Court seeking the release of her examination results, which had been withheld for two years after she wrote her examinations in 2015.
The school authorities had been withholding the examination results since the time they were released in early 2016 to induce payment of the outstanding school fees, which stood at $412.50.
In her application filed on 27 November 2018, Prudence argued that the school authorities’ refusal to release her examination results on the basis of failing to pay school fees is unconstitutional as it violates her constitutional right to education enshrined in Section 75 of the Constitution and the rights of children guaranteed under Section 81 of the Constitution.
Prudence also argued that the school authorities’ actions of withholding examination results were unlawful as they are not provided for by law and there were lawful ways upon which they could recover their unpaid fees.
The school authorities actions, Prudence argued, infringed her fundamental rights as she failed to progress with her education without her Ordinary Level examination results.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights