Malawi schools to admit students with dreadlocks after court order

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A court in Malawi has ordered education authorities to admit learners with dreadlocks in the country’s public schools.

The high court, sitting in the eastern city of Zomba, was ruling on a petition brought by two Rastafarian students. They were refused admission to public schools in 2016 and 2010.

The two learners have, however, been attending school after they obtained a court injunction.

Talks between the Rastafarian community in Malawi and the country’s attorney general to settle the matter have failed resulting in a prolonged legal suit, whose determination was made on Monday.

Judge Zione Ntaba ruled that barring children with dreadlocks from attending school was a breach of their right to education.

“The Ministry of Education should issue a statement to allow all children of the Rastafarian community with dreadlocks to be allowed in class. The circular should be done by 30th June,” Justice Ntaba ordered.

The case was filed by three human rights organisations on behalf of the Rastafarian community in the country.

There have been similar cases in some African country’s over the refusal of schools to admit students with dreadlocks.

In 2021, a high court in Ghana ruled in favour of two students who were prevented from studying in one of a prestigious Senior High Schools because of their dreadlocks.

In 2019, a high court in Kenya also ruled that students with dreadlocks must be allowed to study in school.


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