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Drop religious studies from curriculum, atheists now demand

Atheists in Kenya now want the Ministry of Education to stop the teaching of religious subjects in primary and secondary schools saying it discriminates against those who did not profess any religion.

In a press statement signed by their Chairman Harrison Mumia, they said it was wrong to teach Christian, Islamic or Hindu religious education without giving room to pupils and students to study atheism as well.

“We think it is unjustifiable that publicly-funded schools in Kenya still teach CRE, IRE and HRE. Such a situation not only undermine the integrity of the state education system, (but) it also undermines young people’s religious freedom,” said Mr Mumia in the statement.

They said parents should be left to teach their children on religion as opposed to being taught in school.

“We would therefore like to see CRE, IRE and HRE abolished and replaced with a new programme of study that allows pupils to take a more objective and religiously neutral approach to the consideration of moral and ethical issues. Such a subject would still include basic knowledge about a variety of religions and beliefs, their broad ethical standpoints and their philosophical and/or religious underpinning,” he said.

They accused the Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i of discriminating them for asking them to keep off the sector.

“It is unfortunate that the Education CS can demonstrate blatant discrimination against atheists in Kenya by suggesting that we keep off the education sector,” Mr Mumia said.

On Monday, Dr Matiang’i asked the atheists to keep off schools saying they were not welcome. He said learners must be raised knowing that “God exists”.

The CS, who was responding to claims of sodomy at Maseno School in Kisumu, further said that the government was working on a policy to have chaplains sent to all schools so that they can guide students spiritually.

The atheists insisted that they were products of the education system in Kenya and had a right to propose changes to the Education curriculum like any other Kenyan.

They vowed to push the government to accommodate their ideologies in schools.

“We would like to reiterate that we will relentlessly advocate for comprehensive reform of religious education in Kenya,” the statement further read.