Q&A – 28 August 2023

Pupil refused admission for delay to report

My son was selected to join a public high school for social science studies. Due to my financial constraint, I could not buy the required needs for my son and he was late to report to school for three weeks. The headmaster refused to admit him on the grounds of lateness to report to school. Does the law provide a time limit within which a pupil should report to school? Does the law give the head of school power to refuse admission or readmission to a pupil for lateness to report to school? Is it an offence to report late to school? As a parent I am aggrieved with such refusal. What can I do to challenge this decision?
LP, Kigoma

The Education Act and the Education (Expulsion and Exclusion of Pupils from School) Rules gives the school committees and the school boards power to expel students from schools or refuse admission to schools. For secondary schools, power to refuse admission or expel pupils is given to the school boards. For primary schools, such power is given to the school committees that manage the respective school. The head of schools have the duty to report the cause for expulsion or exclusion and give his recommendations to the school committee or the school board that manages the school. The school committee or the school board after deliberating on the report of the head of school and making its own inquiries may accept or reject the recommendations. Hence it is the school board or the school committee and not the head of school who is vested with powers to refuse the admission or expel a student from school. We have noted many times that the head of school is unaware of such rules and proceeds with expulsion without following the due process.

One of the grounds for refusal to admit or readmit a student to school is lateness to report to the school. However, the Rules do not prescribe the deadline for reporting to school for admission or readmission after the school opens. What period is considered as late reporting to school that would warrant refusal to admit a student to school is not clearly provided in the Rules. We would expect the delay not to be unreasonable. In your case, a 3-week delay might be held to be unreasonable.

An order of the school committee or the school board expelling or excluding a student from school has to be in writing addressed to the parent or the guardian of the student and copied to the Regional and District Education Officers. Where the order of exclusion or expulsion is made by the school committee, a person aggrieved with the decision may appeal to the District Education Appeals Board within 45 days of the decision. For the decisions made by the school boards, the appeal lies to the Regional Education Appeals Board and from there a further appeal lies to the Minister for Education whose decision is final and binding. However, in case a parent or guardian is still dissatisfied with the decision of the Minister he or she can challenge the decision of the Minister by way of judicial review.

In your case, there are some procedural lapses on the part of the school, and we recommend you alert them thereto. Should they not heed to your plea, you can proceed with an appeal as provided above.

Electric security wire fence

I have a house which has an electric security wire fence installed seven years ago. I was recently visited by people who introduced themselves as officers of EWURA who asked me why I have not put a warning in my electric wire fence to alert people that the fence is dangerous. Secondly, they asked me if the electric system in my house has been inspected within five years from the date of installation. I doubt the legality of these queries made by the people from EWURA because it looks like they are interfering with my own security measures and privacy. Can you please guide.
EW, Lindi

Rule 18 of the Electricity (Electrical Installation Services) Rules, 2015 requires a person installing an electric security wire fence to ensure that animals and people may not easily access the electric wire fence. In ensuring safety of other people, the Rules required a warning to be put in the fence which reads “DANGER ELECTRIC FENCE- HATARI UZIO WA UMEME”. However, these Rules were revoked and replaced by the Electricity (Electric Installation Services) Rules, 2019 which do not have a similar requirement of putting a warning in the electric security wire fence as the revoked 2015 Rules. Hence under the new rules, such warning is not required any longer.

With regard to inspection of the electric system of a house, the Rules prescribes the interval of inspecting the electric system of houses depending on the use of the house. Houses used for residence like yours must be inspected periodically within an interval of not more than 5 years. Periodic inspection of electric system in a house has to be done by a registered electrical engineer or technician and the periodic inspection certificate signed by the inspector has to be kept by the owner or occupier of the premises. In the absence of the periodic inspection certificate, the house becomes ineligible for power supply and EWURA may appoint a qualified person to undertake the inspection at the owner’s or occupier’s cost.

Failure to hire a qualified and registered person to undertake periodic inspection of the electric system in a house is a breach of the law and such breach attracts a fine of not less than TZS 300,000. EWURA has the power to compound the offence if the occupier or the owner of the premises admits in writing the offence of failure to undertake the periodic inspection of the electric system and is ready to pay the fine prescribed under the law.

We have noted that many occupiers and house owners are not aware of the mandatory requirement to inspect the electric system of the house every 5 years.