Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu has banned schools from directing parents to any particular outlet for the purpose of purchasing uniforms; and no school will stock any uniforms and boarding related items in preparation for the next Form 1 intake in 2024
The order also prohibits any school from stocking uniforms and other boarding-related items in preparation for the next Form 1 intake in 2024.
Machogu gave the directives when he appeared before The National Assembly’s Implementation Committee, saying principals can only prescribe the kind of materials they want.
“We have taken up the issue of school uniforms and issued a circular. It will be up to the parent to source it from wherever as long as it meets the requirements of the schools,” the CS explained.
As a warning, the CS said he will process the names of non-compliant schools for necessary action within the provisions of the law.
The National Assembly committee had accused the MoE of failing to implement a proposal promoting standardization and liberalization of school uniform procurement.
The CS told the MPs that a circular was issued to regional and county directors of education in May 2023 banning schools from undertaking any sale or prescription of sellers of school uniforms to parents.
He said the right of every child to free and compulsory basic education is enshrined in Article 53(1)(b) of the constitution.
“Our position as ministry is that any measure that has the effect of locking out children from school would be a contravention of this right. This is the case with the prohibitive cost of school uniforms as well,” said Machogu.
The committee, which is chaired by MP for Kajiado Central Memusi Kanchory, said the cost of acquiring school uniforms is one of the things that push up the cost of education in the country.
Memusi said the ministry should ensure that the circular is obeyed to avoid past arrangements where parents were forced to buy from specific uniform makers.
Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba called on the ministry to provide a legal framework that will allow tailors trained by the government to make uniforms affordably.
Early this year, the National Assembly passed the Resolution on Standardization and Production of School Uniforms, directing the ministry to implement the proposals.
School administrators have been accused of receiving commissions after colluding with specific uniform suppliers to sell their merchandise.
By Obegi Malack
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