Child representatives have raised concern over religious discrimination at some boarding schools where students regardless of religion are forced to attend the school church.

In an interview Child Speaker of Parliament Vladimir Tomuseni said that the religious requirements of some schools are tantamount to foisting beliefs on children. “We do not have a right to religion anymore at schools. Students are forced to attend churches whether they like it or not,” said Tomuseni.

Zimbabwe has hundreds of missionary schools that are owned predominantly by the Methodist church, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.

These churches are historically established now in Zimbabwe. Most of the younger Pentecostal churches such as the United Family International (UFI) led by prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa do not have schools of their own and when their children go to school they are made to follow the ‘old’ churches doctrine. 

Child Governor for Harare Sandile Gumede said that children should be allowed to choose  their own churches. “Children should not be forced to belong to a certain church because it is at the boarding school. They should be [treated with] tolerance,” said Gumede.

Article 14 of the Constitution stipulates that children have freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In some Catholic schools non-Catholic students are not allowed to be prefects.