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Court dismisses suit against Association International School

Local News

1 years ago
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The Human Rights Division of the High Court in Accra has dismissed an application filed by two former students of Association International School (AIS) over the school’s decision to withhold their transcripts until they settle their outstanding fees.

In a judgment, the court presided over by Justice Barbara Tetteh-Charway, held that the school did not violate the students’ right to education when it withheld their transcripts over the arrears.

The court held that while the 1992 Constitution allowed individuals to enjoy their right to education, private schools such as AIS running the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes and offering several opportunities to its students needed the relatively higher fees to remain in business.

“Therefore, parents who choose to access such high-end educational facilities for their children with the aim of facilitating their smooth transition into tertiary institutions abroad to continue their education, must be prepared to pay the requisite fees for the services rendered.

“This is because, it is the relatively high fees paid by students in such schools that enable the school to pay its teachers and provide the kind of atmosphere and experience that students in some public schools can hardly imagine,” Justice Tetteh-Charway said.

In the suit filed through their mother, Nana Akua Hayford Avle, in January this year to endorse their right to education, the students — Sewenam Avle and Selikem Avle — alleged that after paying GH¢100,000 out of GH¢141,560 as school fees, when they were ready to pay the rest, the school informed them that the balance of GH¢41,560, equivalent to $8,593 at the time of first payment, had shot up to GH¢111,709 due to depreciation of the Ghana cedi at the time of paying the second instalment.

When they disagreed with the school on the outstanding amount, they alleged that the AIS directed them to stay at home due to their inability to pay the remaining fees, as communicated by the school.

As a result of the disagreement, the students’ mother sought a different school for them and needed their transcripts as part of the admission requirements.

Upon request for the transcripts, the students averred in their arguments to support the suit that AIS refused the request to release their transcripts covering the academic years that they paid their school fees in full.

As part of their reliefs, the two students wanted the court to declare as a violation of their fundamental human rights the school’s refusal to release their transcripts.

Aside from that, they also wanted the court to order AIS to release their transcripts and results and a “declaration that there is no lawful basis for AIS to interfere with the applicants’ right to education based on fees owed the school”.


In its defence, counsel for AIS, Samuel Narh, contended that as a private liability company, it had no constitutional mandate and obligation to provide the students with an avenue to realise their rights of education unless the applicants could meet the terms and conditions agreed upon by both parties regarding the payment of fees.

The school added that as part of its policy, “once a student leaves the school with outstanding school fees, the student and his or her parents’ access to the platform is blocked until payment of the school fees in full”.

It said until the students paid all their outstanding financial obligations to the school, particularly when they had terminated their contract of enrolment on their own accord, it could not be compelled to release their transcripts to them.

In her judgment, Justice Tetteh-Charway, noted that the mere fact that the two students had at some point fully paid their fees did not entitle them to refuse to pay the arrears.

It added that the Association International School exercised a right to lien, when it decided to withhold the transcript until the outstanding arrears were settled, given that the students had already benefited from the services of the school.

The right to lien is a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by the person is discharged.

“This court finds that AIS has a right to exercise a lien over the students’ transcript until the arrears of the tuition is paid,” Justice Tetteh-Charway ruled.

She added that the directive to the two students to stay home because they owed fees was not applied discriminatorily to the two students alone but all students who had not paid their fees, hence there was no basis for the students to allege that their right to education had been violated.

“In the court's perspective, this is a purely contractual issue between the students' mother and AIS which has been couched as a human rights violation to stoke the embers of judicial sympathy,” Justice Tetteh-Charway said of the case which was determined within five months.


Reacting to the judgement, Head of AlS, Audrey Doryumu, said the school had been vindicated, adding: "This is not just a victory for AlS but all international schools in the country."

She urged parents to abide by their contracts with international schools and desist from tarnishing the school's image under the guise of court processes and human rights violations.

Mrs Doryumu indicated that the school would go after the plaintiff to ensure that the fees owed the school was paid in full.

source: Graphiconline.com