• They have also challenged the fees that they are paying for the online classes, saying it should be at a reduced price of 50 per cent.
•The students argue that the online programme has no access to face to face consultation with the lecturers
Eighty law students at the University of Nairobi have challenged the use of the online platform for classes and examinations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through two of the students Daniel Chege Kamau and Kelvin Mugambi Kubai who sued on behalf of the 80 learners, they filed a case at the Milimani law court challenging the decision.
The students who are enrolled for both Masters and undergraduate programmes have pleaded with the court to stop UoN from continuing with online classes and exams.
Kamau argues that they enrolled for a physical class based programme and not for an online or distance learning programme.
They considered UoN to be the best in the region in terms of academic staff and experience for the physical programme and not the latter.
“In April after the state closed all institutions due to Covid-19, the UoN through its Senate arbitrarily without consultations and pubic participation embarked on an online academic programme,” reads court papers.
On May 13, the university issued a memo announcing that online classes would commence on May 18 which was done without the students' consent.
“The decision to commence the online classes was arrived at without a consideration of the petitioners' peculiar situations as some of the petitioners are in remote areas therefore are not able to access reliable internet or online services,” they argued.
The students also claim that UoN did not consider their precarious financial position as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic rendering the students unable to raise the fees demanded by the school as well as money required for the purchase of internet bundles, laptops, among other gadgets required to facilitate the online classes.
“The actions by the school have the effect of punishing the petitioners and denying them equal protections of the law, without any wrong doing or fault on their part, as the online classes and intended or threatened examinations will continue in their absence while the pandemic is a continuing natural calamity,” Kamau argues.
They are also apprehensive that even if they were to involuntarily be led to participate in the online classes and exams, any person may successfully petition the invalidation of the results and degree certificate on the basis of non-accreditation and compromised quality.
They have also challenged the fees that they are paying for the online classes, saying it should be at a reduced price of 50 per cent.
The students argue that the online programme has no access to face to face consultation with the lecturers, has limited access to the library and access to physical based program facilities that it is only fair that the fees is reduced.