What you need to know:
- The syllabus that children use in the Kenyan school system is developed by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
- While school management and teaching staff implement, it is generally supervised by the quality assurance personnel from the Ministry of Education.
It has been argued that values and value systems are guidelines that largely determine what is essential in a given society. They often reflect people’s sense of right and wrong and, on the platinum, what ought to be. Such guidelines could assume the shape and tenets of diverse sources.
Some people are religious, as you have rightly put it, and others are not. Values and the systems thus tend to be relative and tethered to morality lenses, making it difficult to legislate the same.
Everyone has an unlimited right to sue another or an institution in a court of law on a dispute or conflict. For issues within the Bill of Rights, provisions of Article 22 guide that every person has the right to institute court proceedings claiming that a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights has been denied, violated, infringed or threatened.
The issue you seek to address is found here. The law guides schools and other learning facilities.
The Basic Education Act of 2013 provides the ground or operational rules and regulations for assigning content and form of learning for every subject taught. The assumption is that whatever is taught in schools is age-relevant and context-specific, which, in the first place, motivates grading pupils in certain classes and categories and graduating them to the subsequent levels.
Schools operate under a parent ministry, from which their heads follow instructions. Therefore, suing the school, whether what you seek to petition merits or not, is, a false start.
The syllabus that children use in the Kenyan school system is developed by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
While school management and teaching staff implement, it is generally supervised by the quality assurance personnel from the Ministry of Education. Policy documents currently being used in school development indicate that family planning is not taught in any of the public schools in Kenya.
The proposal for comprehensive sexual education has been rejected severally and consistently, especially by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.
All content taught in schools could first be categorised as information. Article 35 (1b) of the Constitution 2010, supports children’s access to such information by stating that every person has a right to access information held by the state, institution or another person that is required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom.
Access to educational informational materials enhances the children’s right to quality education. However, the same Constitution in Article 53 (2) demands that every programme, action, decision, and other children-related process, be made in their best interest.
One is letting them access and interact with relevant information for their learning.
As you contemplate moving the court on the allegations of family planning learning in schools, there is a need to know what the current policies on sexual reproductive health provide for.
The Adolescent Reproductive Health Development Policy 2003 emphasises multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary approaches to provide integrated and quality reproductive health. The Education Sector Policy on HIV/Aids of 2013 stresses the need to provide age-appropriate and relevant information on HIV/Aids and alcohol and substance abuse to prevent new HIV infections among students at all levels.
The National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy of 2015 guides to enhance the sexual reproductive health status of adolescents.
If you have evidence that that you can cite in court to affirm your claims regarding family planning, then demonstrating offence to the provisions of Article 32 Clauses (1) and (4) of the Constitution, 2010 may be necessary.
The Article awards all persons the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion. It protects everyone from being compelled to act or engage in any act contrary to their belief or religion. This reiterates that you have the right not to agree with the content taught to your child in school.
Read: Lobbies urge State to review proposed sex education curriculum
While it is not the wish of this column to dissuade you from taking legal action against what you refer to as inappropriate content against your family’s belief and religious adherence, it may be less confrontational to transfer your child to a different school, preferably run under the tenets of the Catholic social teachings.