Christian school in row over Muslim pupil's beard

Shave your beard or leave the school, that was the message to a grade 8 pupil at Ashton International College in Benoni.

The school is refusing to allow the pupil to grow his beard in line with traditional Islamic practices.

READ:'Elite schools in SA are still reproducing bullying and whiteness'

Speaking to Bongani Bingwa, National Director for Education Management & Governance in Schools at the Department of Education, James Ndlebe says the matter is not as simple as 'shave the beard or leave'.

South Africa is a constitutional democracy and the passing of the constitution committed the nation to a set of values of an open democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

James Ndlebe, National Director for Education Management & Governance in Schools at the Department of Education

So all the laws and codes need to be brought in line with the constitution, to advance this equality and the right for all, not a selected grouping.

James Ndlebe, National Director for Education Management & Governance in Schools at the Department of Education

He adds that a school is found within a community and it is supposed to serve the needs and the aspirations of that community and the country at large.

And we don't have a community that has separate groupings of people, the school needs to serve everybody that is within that community.

James Ndlebe, National Director for Education Management & Governance in Schools at the Department of Education

He says the idea that this is a private school and those are their rules, is not a fair argument as all the rules need to be brought in line with the constitution and pupils cant be chased away because of that.

Listen below to the full interview:


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