Catholic Activists Demand Ban of Book Promoting “premature sexualization” in Kenya

Credit: CitizenGO Africa

Catholic activists in Africa under their umbrella organization, CitizenGO Africa, are calling on the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Kenya to ban a primary school textbook that they say seeks to foster “premature sexualization” of school-going children in the East African nation.

According to the activists, the Top Scholar Health Education Grade 7 book contains “inappropriate content which is meant to sexualize children.”

In their petition launched Tuesday, September 12, the activists ask CS Ezekiel Machogu to “immediately ban the distribution and use of the Top Scholar Health Education Grade 7 book in all educational institutions across Kenya.”

The introduction of the Top Scholar Health Education Grade 7 book goes against Kenyan laws that seek parental authority, especially on matters of sexualization of children,” they say, adding that the textbook “directly affects the well-being and moral development of our young students.”

CitizenGo Africa officials call on MoE to review all educational materials to ensure that they have “age-appropriate and morally sound content.”


They also urge CS Machogu to “implement stricter guidelines and quality control measures to prevent the publication and distribution of materials that may harm our children's development.”

They say children need to be protected “from exposure to such harmful content that may lead to confusion, emotional distress, and the premature sexualization of young minds.”

The presence of sexually explicit material in the book designed for Grade 7 pupils, the Catholic activists say, “is not only morally unacceptable but also detrimental to their overall development.”

In August, the Chairman of the Commission for Education and Religious Education (CERE) of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) raised alarm over the circulation of books containing inappropriate content. 

Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru said the books including Top Scholar Health Education Grade 7 “not only sexualizes the learning environment for minors but will also be the biggest contributor to the high rates of teenage pregnancies and abortion.”

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“This is attributable to its failure to establish abstinence as the expected standard for all children,” Bishop Kariuki said during the August 15 press conference at the beginning of the Catholic Schools' Principals Association (CaSPA) conference.

Earlier, in 2019, Bishop Kariuki questioned the proposal to include “Blood Ties” among textbooks grade six pupils in Kenya were to report to school with. The book, whose screenshot was shared online 18 September 2019 elicited heated debate in Kenya, many questioning the kind of content school children in Kenya were being exposed to and the process of approving the same. 

“It is very important that the schools only follow only the recommended books by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD),” Bishop Kariuki weighed in on the controversial text book, and added, “It is also important that the teachers peruse new books in a syllabus, look at the type of content in there and they also give their own point of view whether that book is appropriate in terms of age.”

The then CEO of the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) also weighed in on the proposal to include “Blood Ties” in the Kenyan primary school syllabus. 

In a 19 September 2019 Facebook post, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua blamed the matter on “cartels”, who he said were keen on compromising the morals of children in Kenya.


“I am concerned that this country has been taken over by dangerous cartels that are hell bent on destroying the morals of our children,” Dr. Mutua said, and added, “Most of these cartels are in the Media and in Education sectors and are being funded by foreign NGOs to poison the minds of our children.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.