Mount Kenya University (MKU) has adjusted its weekend examinations programme to accommodate students and staff who worship on Saturdays.
The move follows after a section of students from Kisii initiated an online petition to prevent the institution from conducting exams.
“The exams will be available on Wednesday August 23 as scheduled in the time table at the respective campuses and Open Distance and Electronic Learning (ODEL) centers for any Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) students who may not be able to sit the examinations as currently scheduled,” Dr. Ronald G Maathai, the university’s Registrar for Academic Administration, says in a statement.
MKU later moved the examinations scheduled to be held on Saturday August 19, 2023 to next week.
The petition asserts that MKU disregarded appeals from SDA students who, due to their religious beliefs, cannot sit for exams held on Saturdays.
“Any exams held on Sabbath practically exclude us from participating.” the students stated in their petition.
The students also lodged a petition with the Commission for University Education (CUE), urging them to ensure the campus’s adherence to the statutory and regulatory requirements outlined in the Universities Act of 2012.
According to the Act, universities must follow inclusivity guidelines that prevent discrimination against students based on their religious beliefs.
“This matter requires immediate attention to upholding equality and the constitutional right to worship pursuant to Article 32 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010,” part of the petition states. “As practicing SDAs, Saturdays are dedicated to our religious observance. Conducting exams on this day effectively bars our participation,” said the candidates.
The students elaborated that they faced disenfranchisement and unequal competition with peers who did not observe Saturday worship services, affecting their academic performance.
More than 1,000 students have lent their support to the petition.