Tanzania – books against “moral standards” banned from schools

The Tanzanian government has banned several children’s books on sex education from schools, accusing them of violating “cultural and moral norms” in the East African country where homosexuality is criminalized. Tanzania – Education system: books contrary to “moral standards” banned from schools:

Tanzania - books against "moral standards" banned from schools

Tanzania – books against “moral standards” banned from schools

Tanzania’s education laws don’t mess around. This African country insists on maintaining and enforcing its moral and intrinsic values. For example, the Tanzanian government has banned from schools several children’s books on sex education, which are accused of violating “cultural and moral norms.

Sexuality education

Among the books banned immediately are “Diary of a Wimp: The Logbook of Greg Heffley,” a series of American graphic novels that have sold millions of copies worldwide. The government did not specify why it was targeting this “diary” featuring a teenager. But it assured that inspections were being conducted in public and private school libraries to ensure that it had been removed.

The minister also included in this first list of “unacceptable” books a manual on sexuality education and books mentioning LGBT people. Last week, the head of state Samia Suluhu Hassan called on student leaders to be wary of “imported cultures” from abroad. In Tanzania, homosexuality is punishable by a minimum sentence of 30 years to life in prison. Long before this ban, Tanzania had banned babies in classrooms in the past.

Tanzania had recently allowed young mothers to return to school

The southern African country had recently allowed young mothers to return to school, which had been banned for nearly 20 years, but the Minister of Education ruled that the presence of infants was disruptive to teaching. The Tanzanian education minister’s warning came after a photograph was published in the press showing a 19-year-old student with her four-month-old baby on her lap at a school in the Mbeya region in the southwest of the country. Until now, pregnant teenagers were expelled from public schools in Tanzania, sometimes in the middle of exams. They were not allowed to return after their pregnancy, making the country a virtual exception in sub-Saharan Africa.

The law had even been tightened in 2017 by President John Magufuli, which was denounced by civil society. Every year, between 5,000 and 8,000 Tanzanian adolescent girls were forced to drop out of school for this reason, according to Human Rights Watch and the World Bank, for lack of an affordable alternative curriculum. Since the new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, repealed the law last November, 240 young mothers have returned to school. Education experts, however, recommend that day care centers be provided for those who have no other option for caring for their babies.

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