Gladys Shollei Urges Mandatory School Uniform Policy Changes


It’s a common belief that looking good makes you feel good. But what if looking good also meant breaking the bank? The National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Gladys Shollei, had some tough questions for the Ministry of Education on the subject of school uniforms.

Uniforms, Food, and Fees: A Growing Concern

“What happened to the good old days when I could go to mitumba and buy a pair of black shoes?” Shollei wondered on Citizen TV. “Parents can’t afford a pair that costs more than Ksh1000 while they can get a similar shoe at Ksh300 at mitumba. Why should we have to buy tracksuits, fleece, sweaters, several ties, short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts and trousers?”

The Uasin Gishu Woman Representative claimed that schools have been exaggerating the uniforms required and locking out a number of students. She also spoke about the high costs of food and how it’s preventing students from attending school even after receiving bursaries.

Going the Extra Mile

Shollei challenged members of parliament to work with headteachers in identifying needy students to make sure that no child misses out on joining secondary school. “The best hack is to work with headteachers in primary schools because they know the needy students, their families, their homesteads can even tell you that this child misses school because of lack of food,” she noted. “By the time the child is in class eight, they already know this is one of the good students who has a challenge and they become priorities when issuing bursaries.”

Affordable Uniforms for Every Learner

Education Principal Secretary (PS) Belio Kipsang issued a directive for uniform vendors to ensure that uniforms are affordable during an inspection tour of grade seven transition activities in Kajiado County on January 31. “We are saying the uniforms should not be expensive but of good quality for every learner in our JSS institutions to boost their morale,” he cautioned.

Do Uniforms Really Matter?

Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria questioned the need for compulsory school uniforms in schools. He stated that school uniforms had little to no effect on learners receiving quality education and hence schools should not institute any type of clothing policy. “In America, there is no uniform. How is the School uniform with a competency-based curriculum (CBC)? It is not a necessity. The Ministry has sent a circular and the Ministry will send another circular today to the schools that parents have got absolute freedom and discretion on where to buy uniforms,” he noted.

In conclusion, the cost of education and uniforms has become a growing concern in Kenya. Officials are working to standardize the uniforms and make them more affordable, while also questioning their importance in the first place. Let’s hope that these concerns are addressed soon, and students can get back to learning and laughing in comfort, without breaking the bank.

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