Education Minister tries to ban gay kids from boarding schools


george mahoga boarding schools
Image: Education Ministry Kenya Twitter

Kenyan Education Minister George Mahoga has caused controversy with a proposal to ban gay school kids from boarding schools. At the same time as Australia grappled with Citipointe College attempting to institute a no-LGBTIQ+ contract, Mahoga attempted to institute nationwide discrimination.

Magoha said that students ‘moving from one bed to another’ should attend day schools instead of boarding schools. Many gifted students from rural Kenyan villages attend boarding schools in regional population centres.

The minister claimed he has nothing against gay students but believes placing them in day schools will allow closer parental supervision.

He said homosexual students should ensure they don’t infringe on the rights of other students to retain their placement in Kenyan boarding schools.

George Mahoga made the statement following reports of an assault on a male student at a boarding school in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The minister previously raised the issue in December.

“Right now there are contemporary cases of children who are homosexual and lesbians. They must go to day schools close to their homes.”

He instructed headmasters not to allow children to intimidate them.

Protests

That statement prompted protests by LGBT students on the streets of Nairobi.

One of the protestors said Mahoga’s comments had a direct impact on students. MaryLiz Biubwa said she knew of a student already excluded from school as a result of the comments.

“Because of the directive Magoha has given, I have two students who have reached out, one I am planning to start the journey of helping them tomorrow because she was already sent out of school. She has Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in March, she can’t go back because she will be told she is gay.”

The KCSE is mandatory for Kenyan high school students wishing to go on to higher education.

The protesters called on the minister to withdraw his remarks. They advocated for the criminalisation of phobias, including homophobia, that put lives at risk.

George Mahoga’s comments also attracted criticism from Professor Makau Mutua the Kenyan-American Dean of the Buffalo School of Law.

Professor Mutua tweeted, “Magoha is a bigot and a Neanderthal. To bar gay children from boarding schools is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and inhuman. Being gay is as natural and African as being asexual, heterosexual, pansexual, and bisexual. We must love ALL our kids no matter their sexualities.”

The minister since released a further statement claiming people misunderstood his earlier statement. He now claims he never meant that boarding schools should expel gay students. He did not, however, explain what he did mean.

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