In Summary
  • The judge said uniforms are decided by schools’ board of management and serve to create cohesion among students.
  • For starters, Western missionaries introduced school uniforms in Kenya in the early 20th century.
  • Uniforms have become an integral article for identifying schools, evoking sentimental feelings.

Two years ago, High Court Judge Anyara Emukule made a ruling in a dispute over school uniforms and said they are a symbol of identity that must be worn by all students irrespective of class, religion or ethnic extraction.

At the centre of the dispute was the parent of a student at Bura Girls in the Coast, who had sued the school for suspending his daughter for failing to put on the appropriate uniform on religious grounds.

The judge said uniforms are decided by schools’ board of management and serve to create cohesion among students, promoting positive sense of communal values and learning and avoiding disparities on religion or status.

Now Education Permanent Secretary Belio Kipsang’ has sparked debate about school uniforms, with the proposition that the government was considering introducing the same uniform for all students across the country.

STANDARDISED UNIFORM

In this thinking, standardised uniform would enhance identity even better. All schools would have the same make and colour of uniforms to ensure oneness among all learners.

The argument is not as outrageous as the majority of us think, it is the practice in southern Africa. But in our case, the question is: what is the problem that the PS wants to fix? Has anybody complained about the diversity of school uniforms? What is prompting the decision? What does he want to achieve?

For starters, Western missionaries introduced school uniforms in Kenya in the early 20th century. The primary purpose was to distinguish those attending schools from the rest.

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