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Kenyan teachers, and the ‘copy and paste’ mentality

Teachers donning uniforms. The idea is currently under consideration in Kenya’s education system.

The proposal that Kenyan teachers will be wearing uniforms has elicited laughter and curiosity in equal measure.

A common Kenyan adage “Kenya sihami’, loosely translated as ‘I won’t leave Kenya’, is ever active in social media, moreso as numerous proposals fly left, right and centre following the assumption of office by the Ruto-led government.

I think that it’s high time that I also accept to row in the same boat with my fellow Kenyan social media users in adopting the frequent use of the adage. (Why would I be left out anyway)?

The urge was heightened when I heard that the Ministry of Education, under its Cabinet Secretary, Ezakiel Machogu, proposed that teachers to put on uniforms – just like their learners do. However, this issue left me with brouhaha – not because it is a unique thing, but because in Kenya, we have developed and nurtured ‘copy and paste’ mentality.

There is nothing bad with Kenyan teachers donning orange T-Shirts/shirts with green stripe at the sleeves and collar. The problem with my motherland Kenya is that we tend to acquire and copy practices that don’t help in any perceived way.

My problem with this ‘copy and paste’ mentality is that whereas we are copying other developed nations, we have obstinately refused to adopt the mechanisms and policies that they implemented to see them get to where they are now. And even if we finally copy those great policies, they end up gathering dust at the shelves of either State House, or any other government offices.

Uniform is a tradition in countries such as Britain, Ireland, India, Australia or Cyprus. In the United States, school uniforms are fairly common at private schools, but not state schools. We, in Kenya, have terribly failed to do a thorough background check as to why the mentioned countries got to where they’re tight now.

Kenya is touted as the country with the most progressive constitution in the world. (It does sound great. Doesn’t it?). However, it is the same country with the ‘most progressive constitution’ that has blatant violations of court orders – which will always happen right at noonday.

So, by Kenyan teachers putting on uniforms – a system copied from developed nations – it will not displace a feather if putting on of uniforms is not augmented with great teaching skills, and adequate manpower to equip our learners with requisite qualifications for their future lives.

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