Muslim girls may now wear hijabs as part of the school uniform, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
In a ruling delivered by Judges Philip Waki, Roselyne Nambuye and Patrick Kiage, they directed the Education Cabinet Secretary to ensure new rules on school uniform are made that do not discriminate against some students based on their religion.
“The Education CS should consider formulating and putting into place regulations, after due consultations, for the better protection of the fundamental right to freedom of religion and belief as well as equality and discrimination for all pupils and students in Kenya’s educational system,” the judges ruled.
The verdict was certainly good news to some students, at a church-sponsored school in Isiolo, who have had a yearlong battle in the corridors of justice, seeking to be allowed to wear hijabs and white trousers while attending classes as part of their religious Muslim practices.
The court ordered the school’s Board of Management to hold talks with the parents and students, with a view to amending the rules touching on school uniform.
They said the discussion should ensure that the new rules provide an exemption as well as accommodate those students whose religious beliefs require them to wear particular items of clothing, in addition to the school uniform.
The verdict overturned a High Court order delivered by Justice Harun Makau on May 7, 2015.
Justice Makau had ruled that the Teachers Service Commission’s decision and the Isiolo education office allowing female students of the said school to wear hijabs was illegal and discriminatory.
He had faulted the decision as being contrary to school regulations and issued an order stopping the TSC and local education officials from allowing students to wear hijab and interfere with running of the school.
Justice Makau had further ordered that the three should not effect the Hijab wearing rule.