A debate has emerged over how expensive it is to facilitate children through school and the burden numerous parents shoulder.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) National Chairman Omboko Milemba on Tuesday, March 29, opined that school uniforms should be done away with due to their expensive nature.
Speaking during an interview on Citizen TV, Omboko argued that uniforms have also been listed in several surveys as one of the reasons why learners skip school.
According to the KUPPET boss, uniforms are hindering basic education in Kenya, which is about access, and that is why the government has made it free.
However, teachers' and other stakeholders' rules on uniforms and other material necessities hinder advancements in achieving free education.
"I can strongly tell you here that uniforms will finally be removed and ought to be removed. There is no correlation between uniforms and learning. I know that other stakeholders would argue that uniforms are used for identity, but a student is a student," Omboko stated.
His remarks were triggered by calls made by former Nairobi Education CEC Janet Ouko, who questioned the motives of school principals who asked parents to purchase uniforms from specific at exaggerated prices.
Ouko urged the Ministry of Education to review the uniform policy and rein in the uniforms cartel and regulate the education sector.
She gave examples of schools in Nairobi where uniforms cost as much as Ksh36,000 without adding costs for mattresses, bedsheets and blankets supplied in schools.
"Somer of these people are importing from China because it's cost-effective... Parents are traumatized because all schools in this country have contacted specific companies to supply uniforms," she stated.
Ouko also raised concern over the role Boards of Management plays in hiking fees in public schools.
She lamented that national schools have been affected by BOMs who institute new laws without considering the status of different families.
"We can't remove uniforms but at this moment we can define what uniforms are. These are opportunities for making money... Can we keep it at a minimum and remove these intermediaries between the parent and the uniform.
"Tell parents to go source for the uniforms. I can get you the fee structures and I can bet you the uniform is more expensive than the First Term fees," she stated.
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