|Mutula Kilozo showcasing model skirt [Photo:Standard]|
By Ashford Kimani
Now that the dust on the length of skirts for girls in high schools has settled down, I would wish to give my view on this somewhat sensitive matter.
The reaction by the now almost famous Rwathia girls’ secondary school has opened a Pandora’s Box. Their ‘bold’ move of going on strike so as to pressurize the administration into allowing them wear shorter skirts has attracted both praise and condemnation in equal measure.
A section of the media has been very loud on condemning this act even before they interrogated the pros and cons of the girls’ issue. As a result of this social media is awash with all manner of opinions on the length of a schoolgirl’s skirt.
On their part, our ideologically bankrupt politicians are cashing in on heat generated by this debate. The matter has attracted the attention of none other than the Education Minister, Mutula Kilonzo.
Unfortunately, as is the characteristic of Kenyans, the matter ended there with nobody offering any solution. Every body has trivialized a sensitive matter that led to the girls of Rwathia spending at home one week with no learning.
Some radio stations shows made minced meat of it during their morning and evening talk shows. Even if not for anything else let us get a way forward for the sake of these gallant girls. They opened our eyes into seeing what the Ministry of Education could not. This matter now is an eyesore.
I have been a teacher for the last ten years. This therefore gives me authority to comment on schools’ matter like dress code. However, it does not qualify my views as such. In my ten long years of service I have taught in schools whose learners hail from different social, moral and economic backgrounds. I have also interacted with learners from these diverse backgrounds and in all the cases the issue of dress code is very controversial.
The issue has now shifted from the size of the skirts to some comments attributed to Education Minister, Mutula Kilonzo to the effect that our girls should not be dressed like nuns. The Catholic Church, which has come out fighting and demanding that Mutula withdraws the remarks, has also failed to give us the way forward.
The Catholic-run girls’ secondary schools do not have a clear-cut policy on the length of the skirts. In fact you cannot tell the difference between the girls in Catholic schools with the ones in public ones from the length of their skirts.
I would therefore expect the Church to guide us instead of vilifying Mutula for speaking his mind. The politicians who are pretending to be holier than thou and demanding resignation of Mutula should instead use their convenience in parliament and facilitate legislation of laws to govern dress code in high schools.
Taking the matter to political arena and baying for the Education minister’s blood is cheap politics and only demonstrates their opportunism.