At the age of 14, Jaho Yonzha Collet dreams of becoming a pilot. A bright student, he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and gain admission to Rodrigues College. However, his wish will not come true. Reason: The management refused to proceed with his admission in this college because of these dreadlocks. Since then, she has been fighting discrimination with her parents.
It’s a case that has caused a lot of ink to flow and sparked protests on the Internet. Many netizens shared Jaho Yonzha Collet’s photo on Facebook with messages of support. They are angry at Rodrigues College’s decision not to admit the boy because of his dreadlocks.
Her mother, Dorothee Quirin, reports that she faced this situation during the admission procedures in December 2022. “We lived in Mauritius for five years before returning to Rodrigues so they could sit their Primary School Leaving Certificate exams. It was working fine. Four units landed. He was happy to know that he was eligible for admission to Rodrigues College,” he explains.
But his joy was short-lived. “I went to meet the rector. I told him that my son has fears. Here his attitude changed. He told me that if I want to be accepted, I have to cut my hair. I explained to him that he was born with hair and always had. The rector did not want to hear anything. »
Faced with this occasion, he went to knock on the door of Le Chou College. “It’s a different world. I am speechless, I am very touched by the attitude of the college head and his willingness to welcome my son. He explains that his son was admitted to this college where he spent his first days on January 9. “He tells me that he is friends and that everything is going well. I am happy for him. »
Even if she says she doesn’t want to get admission in Rodrigues College for her son, she is not going to let it go. “My son was born with this hair. When he was a year old, we cut them off, but they grew back the same way. Since then, he does not want to cut them either. This was never a problem for any of the schools he attended. »
This mom’s wish for today: to raise awareness and seek a response from the authorities. He claims that the paper submitted by the college stated that this transfer was done at the request of the parents. “This is completely false. It was when we mentioned the real reasons for this transfer that this issue was revealed by angry people”, says Dorothée Quirin.
The Challenge Plus also sought a reaction from the principal of Rodrigues College. One teacher said, “It’s not discrimination. The rules of the college were explained to the parents and the importance of not giving any privilege to anyone. After that, the parents made their decision. »
As for the rector, when we contacted him, he was in a meeting with the college staff. Then we called him again. But he did not answer our calls.
Henrisson Azie, rector of Le Chou college: “We didn’t pay attention to her body structure”
Henrisson Azie, rector of Le Chou College, said he had no doubt the case would be controversial when asked for a comment. “Parents came to meet with us to request their children to be admitted to the university. We followed the usual procedure. The boy went to class on January 9th and everything is going well. »
He adds that like all colleges, they have rules that students must follow. “However, we did not focus on his physical appearance. This does not create any problems for either the staff or the students. »
Ministry of Education: “An accident happened”
If the teenager’s parents were to consider appealing to the Ministry of Education, the latter, according to its press secretary Elvissen Adake, cannot intervene in Rodrigues college admissions matters. . However, he considers this situation as an “unfortunate event”. For him, it is an isolated case that a child is born like this. She hopes the officials will return to a better mood for the sake of the child. “It is important not to deprive a child of the opportunity to study because of his appearance. Moreover, he is a brilliant student. You have to control him so that he can give his best instead of letting him down. »
The Chief Commissioner’s gesture was welcomed
On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, comments from netizens were mixed after a photo of Commissioner Johnson Roussetti wearing a dreadlocks wig. However, it seems that the teenager’s relatives appreciated this gesture. The main worrier said in a video that went viral online that she wore the wig to support the schoolboy at the Regional Assembly that day. Dorothee Quirin is hailed by the Chief Commissioner for her action. “His words are very meaningful. Linn shows that li respecte tou dimounn pe import kouma li ete. “He also states that he would like to meet with Johnson Roussety to discuss this incident.
Rita Venkatasawmy defends the right to be different
The Children’s Ombudsman of the Republic of Mauritius explains that his office is following the case closely. “During the education process, children should be taught to accept others with their differences. We live in a world where we are all different. Different flowers create the beauty of the garden. The right to be different is a fundamental right,” he answered. For Rita Venkatasawmy, the leadership position provides food for thought. “It sends the wrong signal to students. Education is not just about academic performance. He wishes to welcome the post of Chief Commissioner. “He was brave. This gesture is greatly appreciated. »