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Government should crush school uniforms cartels

With the way things are going in this country pertaining school uniforms, I am being tempted to support the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET’s) sentiments calling for the abolishment of school uniforms in the country. I am tempted to do so due to the way schools are taking advantage of parents by hiking school uniforms unnecessarily.

Not Just once Parents in this country have been lamenting on the ever increasing prices of school uniforms but that seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

The cost of assisting children through school is not for the faint hearted nowadays with parents bearing it all from greedy schools just to ensure their children get an education.

In an interview with a local TV station in March 2021, KUPPET’s chairman Omboko Milemba intimated that currently uniforms have been named as reasons why pupils or even students skip school.

“I can tell you here that the uniforms will eventually retire and should be, there is really no correlation between uniform and learning. I know some stakeholders may say that uniforms are used for identity but a student is a student,” he said.

“…..parents are traumatized because all the schools in this country have contacted a special company to provide uniforms,” he added

KUPPETS secretary general Akello Misori who lambasted the school managements complained that the costs of uniform was sadly locking out students from accessing an education hence negating the ministry of educations push for 100 percent transition to secondary schools.

“The uniforms policy is outdated. Why do we insist we must have uniforms? It does not add value to learning,”Misori said.

What is confusing is that different schools are charging differently in terms of uniform costs, one school is demanding up to 36,000 shillings for uniforms alone and this is exclusive of bed sheets, blankets, mattresses for students joining form one or joining a new school, while other schools require parents to pay 20,000, others 10,900 shillings.

“Parents of this country do not want to buy uniforms in schools, parents of this country do not want to be subjected to procurement processes yet they can themselves procure…first and foremost the problems that parents are having is with the number of items ..There are so many unnecessary items that have made their way to a list that is being called uniform list,” Educationist Janet Ouko said in a TV interview.

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“Severally you have bought an item in school it is so poor quality yet you have bought it at three times the cost that you should have gotten it from the shop. there is a big conversation that needs to go on about a fleece jacket …why do you need a fleece jacket for 3500 shillings yet you have a sweater you have a wind breaker, legwarmers scarf, Marvin’s shoes (toughees) it looks like a small conversation but a child in Mathare why do they need to walk into a Bata shop to buy Toughees?,” she asked.

As schools reopened last week many parents had to dig deeper into their pockets just to ensure their children get an education .regardless of this they called on the ministry of education to come up with clear policies with regards to school uniforms as they felt like the schools were fleecing them.

“I was forced to buy school uniforms on the open market here in Nairobi as compared to school because prices were cheaper,” Claret Adhiambo a parent who was putting her son into play group at a school in Kariokor Ngara revealed to me.

“The school seemed not to be pleased by my action saying the sweater I bought for my son wasn’t the right color…but you see if the school was charging fairly in terms of uniform I could have easily bought the uniforms there but because I had to save I opted for open market,” She revealed.

Recently the ministry of education asked schools to shun asking parents to buy certain items in order for them to be admitted to form one.

Novels, mathematical sets, atlas, photocopy papers, full scarps among others were among items that education CS professor George Magoha banned.

“We are committed to ensuring that parents of learners who are joining form 1 are not overburdened with unnecessary requirements that increase the cost of education. The idea here is to admit Kenyan child into a public school where secondary school is free,” he said.

BY WEMA TOYWA   #WEMA’STAKE

VIDEO OF THE DAY; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMOGe7_0KA8&t=85s

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