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Girl kicked out of school for her long hair shines in KCSE – PHOTOS

A student who sought refuge at Sing’ore Girls’ School in 2014 after being kicked out of a school she had earlier been admitted to for refusing to trim her hair was among the high-performing learners that elevated the school to the top position nationally.

Ruth Jemutai Kong’in hit the headlines in early 2014 after she was chased away from Metkei Girls’ School in Elgeyo-Marakwet for refusing to trim her long hair because of her religious affiliation.

The school’s administration rejected her pleas and asked her to leave. Intervention by the Ministry of Education officials in the county did not help as the school stood its ground.

Without a choice she left. Desperate and not knowing what to do, she went to Sing’ore where she was welcomed and admitted.

TRIBULATIONS

Four years later, an elated Kong’in said her tribulations had been turned into joy.

She scored a B plain and qualified to join university.

All the 271 students of Sing’ore who sat the exam qualified to join university. The worst performing student had a B minus, above the C plus cut off-mark for joining university. The school did not have an A plain but recorded 15A-, 165B+, 83B and 8B-.

In 2014, it took the intervention of the Ministry of Education headquarters in Nairobi for Kong’in to secure an alternative admission at Sing’ore Girls’ School soon after the Daily Nation highlighted her plight.

An elated Ruth Jemutai Kong’in (left) celebrates with her colleagues in Iten Town. PHOTO | PHILEMON SUTER
An elated Ruth Jemutai Kong’in (left) celebrates with her colleagues in Iten Town. PHOTO | PHILEMON SUTER

Speaking to the Sunday Nation on Thursday, Kong’in thanked Sing’ore Girls’ Principal Rose Koech for giving her a chance to learn and at the same time stay loyal to her religious convictions.

“I thank God that Ms Koech allowed me to join Form One in the school with my hair. In Sing’ore, students are not under any obligation to trim hair and I was very happy. Secondly, I would challenge anyone not to discriminate children on the basis of their faith, sex, beliefs or disability,” said a joyful Kong’in.

REJECTION WAS BLESSING

She said her rejection was a blessing in disguise.

“My long hair did not necessarily have anything to do with education and I have forgiven the administration of Metkei Girls for humiliating me to the point I felt hopeless. I appreciate the efforts of the press which came to my help that consequently attracted the attention of the Ministry of Education,” said the girl who wishes to pursue a degree in nursing.

Ms Koech said despite the fact that there was no more vacancies in Form One then, she decided to offer the girl a chance because she was in distress.

“I didn’t have any vacancy in the class but, having been called at midnight by the County Director of Education who narrated to me the plight of this girl, I had to make a consideration. I have not regretted offering the place and now look at the joy the candidates have given us,” said Ms Koech.

The girl had scored 356 marks in Standard Eight in 2013 and earned herself a place at Metkei Girls’ Secondary School, where she was turned away because the school’s rules did not allow students to keep long hair.

SHAVE HAIR

The girl is a member of the Kenya Local Bible Believers church which does not permit women and girls to shave their hair for any reason.

She was turned away from Metkei on February 6, 2014 even after paying her fees in full. Her parents sought intervention of the County Director of Education Ms Sabina Aroni.