The Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) has established a specialized team to oversee the pricing of school uniforms.
KESSHA chairman, Mr Indimuli Kahi reassured parents and the Ministry of Education that the issue would be definitively addressed.
Widespread reports of exorbitant uniform fees in numerous schools nationwide have placed an additional burden on already financially strained parents. This exploitation has resulted in substantial profits for those involved in the uniform business.
“The team consists of Kessha officials at the county and national levels, who have collectively agreed to self-regulate as principals. Our aim is to provide affordable uniforms of high quality for our students.” Mr. Kahi stated.
The association refuted allegations that its members have transformed institutions into profit-driven enterprises through school uniforms.
“I understand that there is a prevailing sentiment that we have not performed adequately in terms of uniforms, and there have been suggestions to remove this responsibility from schools due to principals using it as a profit-making venture.” Kahi acknowledged
“However, we offer parents an opportunity to easily, safely, and inexpensively acquire these uniforms. The challenge lies in the fact that we have combined boarding items and uniforms into a single cost, presenting it as the total uniform expense.”
The Machakos Boys High School principal proposed a solution, stating, “As school heads, we have agreed to separate boarding items from uniforms. This will clarify the uniform costs, while boarding items such as mattresses and bed sheets will be identified separately.”
He revealed that institutions advertise for the supply of items and suppliers are selected through competitive bidding.
The chief Principal emphasized that when school heads direct parents to purchase uniforms from specific shops, it is not due to any agreement with the supplier but rather because the supplier won the tender through a rigorous process.
“When we ask parents to collect items at school, it is because we have made arrangements with the supplier to facilitate a convenient collection process for parents.” He added.
Earlier this year, parents accused principals, particularly those from national and extra-county schools, of running profit-driven enterprises that exploit parents through inflated prices for school items, including uniforms.
Parents urged the government to take action against principals who imposed additional levies and undisclosed charges in violation of the Education Ministry’s guidelines.