11 July 2018

Kenya: Divisions Emerge in Parents' Association Over Common Uniform

Nairobi — The Kenya Parents' Association (KPA) National Organising Secretary Osborne Mabalu has disowned a proposal for a common school uniform for both primary and secondary students.

Mabalu stated that the association has not met to discuss and adopt the proposal as widely reported that they had agreed on it.

He accused the organisation's National Chairman Nicholas Maiyo for giving out a misleading statement about the matter.

"It was being alleged that parents met, they sat and they discussed. That is a big lie. I was in that meeting in Machakos and our chairman Mr Nicholas Maiyo just suggested and we responded by telling him that this thing is not possible," he stated. "The parents at the grass root have not even been informed. Nobody has ever consulted them."

He noted that their earlier meeting resolved to cascade the issue to all parents in the country before a common ground could be reached.

"When students put on the same uniform, you can't even know which school they are coming from. Some people may just put on this uniform and they masquerade as students. What is the purpose of a uniform," he said.

"The uniform identifies both the student and the school. Suppose now is all students in the country are putting on the same uniform and they cause mayhem somewhere, who will you call? It is impossible."

The recommendation by the Association's national Chairman came up after a one-week workshop hosted by the parents' association in Machakos County last week.

He suggested grey uniform for primary schools and a blue one for secondary schools.

The official said the one-uniform policy would dismantle cartels that worked closely with some head teachers to fleece parents through single-sourced uniforms.

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