By Dorine Otinga
Komorebi Post-One million Kenyan children are still out of school. According to UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report. Although the Kenyan government initiated free
primary education program in January 2003 to raise the enrollment rate in primary school, the poor and mostly girls are less likely to go to school. In 2008, in Nairobi, almost all children from rich households had been to school, whether boy or girl. But 55% of poor girls and 43% of poor boys living in the North East had never been to school. Other research show that girls experience challenges related to religion practices and early marriages during teenage school years which increase dropping out of school.
Head scarf as an obstacle to education
Kenyan Schools both private and public allow students from different religious groups to dress accordingly, however earlier this month Mekada Ndinda, was forced to choose between education and cutting her dreadlocks hidden under the turban she was wearing in secondary school in Nairobi.
Kenya has a diverse religious background including a majority of Christianits, then Muslims, minorities include Hindus and Rastafarian. Ndinda, belonging the later was called by school deputy principal who asked her to remove her turban, her dreadlocks indicated that she belonged to Rastafarian and was told to remove her scarf as only Muslims could cover their hair.
In 2016, Kenyan court allowed Muslim students to wear hijab whether they were on Muslim or non-Muslim schools. This was after banning hijab by a school affiliated to a church. Amina Mohammed the student had to leave the school. A petition circulated by Church of Kenya succeeded in cancelling the previous ruling by the supreme court, now each school has the right to decide its own rules.
This decision provoked a lot of criticism from social media. Most people feel it’s quite unfair having the fact that the ordered a Rastafarian student to be allowed to stay in school with her turban.