Education and Freedom of religion: An unnecessary debate at this stage.


It should not have been the case that, at this stage of growth of the country, we talk about students rights, more so, their freedom of religious worship and how they practice their faith vis-à-vis the rules and regulations of our Senior High schools. It should not have been a debate all if we are to respect basic constitutional provisions.

By the constitution, there are things that are as matter rights. The constitution did not provide only freedom of religion, but also freedom to practice same. It should an open and shut matter when it comes to these fundamental humans rights.

Unfortunately, it is at this time, after almost 30 years of the existence of the 1992 constitution, that we are debating whether a Rastafarian can keep his locks, which is a symbol of his faith at Secondary level of education.

The Rasta family is now in the human rights court fighting to be admitted in Achemota School. This is after the school had refused the students admission solely based on the length of their hair. Where is the constitution?

It is at this time, that Muslim students and their parents are crying because, an important pillar in their practice of faith, Fasting, is being denied them. Students of Secondary school going age are being told not to fast by a school. The school says they are doing so to protect the health of the students. Bizarre reason, isn't it?

Why will a Muslim child, who has been fasting from age 7 will now need the protection of any school at age 16 and above.

The constitution is the supreme law if the land and any other rules and regulations instituted by any entity in the country bow before it. Where the rules come head on with the constitution, that said rule becomes null and void. This is trite, and clear.

So, why are we at this stage having an unnecessary debate when the remedy is within the constitution. As far as the practice, whether it is the hair of a Rastaman, or the empty stomach of a Muslim, does not infringe upon the rights of other citizens, the constitution guarantees it.

Let the court, in the case of the Rastafarians expedite the process and do the obvious. And in the case of the Muslims, discrimination, which is a likely cause, must make way for common sense.