ARUA. Arua High Court has asked St Mary’s Ediofe Secondary School to pay Shs10 million as general damages to a student whom it blocked from sitting the 2016 Uganda Certificate of Education examinations.
The school stopped Gladys Ayikoru from registering for the national examinations, arguing that she had performed poorly in the pre-registration in the first term in 2016.
And in his ruling last week, Justice Stephen Mubiru said the act was unlawful and was an infringement on the student’s rights to education and sitting exams.
“The actions of the defendant (the school) were in contravention of the rights of the student who had suffered psychological torture,” Justice Mubiru said.
“I have estimated that the expenditure of looking for a special French teacher and costs incurred in looking for a new school by the parent to be Shs2.5 million and in light of the severity of the emotional impact the defendant’s violations had on her at such a tender age, to arrive at an award of Shs10 million as general damages,” he added.
The judge said the punishment against the school was meant to act as a future deterrent to schools that are “disproportionately targeting persistently low performing students for expulsion.”
Ayikoru had been denied to register for the examinations at the school after she scored Division 9 in the pre-registration exams. In the suit, she claimed she suffered to look for another school where she was even forced to drop one of the subjects.
However, the school headmistress, Sr Grace Aciro, in her defence, argued that they agreed that students who got Division 9 in pre-registration exams could not be registered with the school and were given options of either to repeat try elsewhere.
Ayikoru was later registered at Odravu Secondary School from where she scored Aggregate 54 (Division Three).