Magoha blasts atheists in prayer row

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has dismissed a letter written by the Atheists in Kenya Society (AIK) asking him to ban mandatory prayer days in schools.

Speaking while commissioning the construction of CBC classrooms in Kwale and Mombasa counties, Magoha said he is a believer and prayers should be encouraged even before exams if possible.

“Atheists telling me that I should stop prayers in schools…they should go straight to hell. I am a believer and we must encourage children to pray even before exams if they can,” he said.

The CS went ahead to state that the prayers that had been stopped were the ones ‘coming from outside’.

“We must pray. The kind of praying that we have stopped is prayers coming from outside. Because in those prayers coming from outside, they also carry other things to come and confuse our children,” the CS added.

His remarks come as students and pupils get ready to write their respective national exams.

Earlier this week, a statement from the AIK faulted the culture that requires learners to be prayerful during their stay in schools.

“Most Kenyans have gone through a public education system where organized, mandatory observance of religious practice was a must. This culture is still rampant in many primary and secondary schools. It is time to rethink the question of mandatory prayer and religious observance in our public school system,” the letter read in part.

The atheists argued that schools are meant for all children regardless of their religious beliefs and it is the duty of churches and mosques to instill beliefs, not schools.

They also asked parents to weigh in on the issue since it is their children who are most affected.

“Public education should provide students with critical reasoning and decision-making tools so they can make informed choices. The goal of education is to foster a sense of natural curiosity and a love for learning, not to memorize facts and recite dogma. Public schools must focus on presenting multiple unbiased views and allow students to draw their own conclusions,” read the letter.

The CS maintained that his Ministry is not going to allow anyone to mess with the examinations warning candidates on fake papers spreading on Telegram.

“We are not going to allow anyone to mess with this examination. For those people, who think they know what we are doing, we are watching closely. The papers being spread on Telegram are fake,” Magoha added.

He also cautioned politicians on politicking on the new CBC curriculum that was rolled out in the country.

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