Uniform in university debate storm in a teacup

By Ivy Aseka | Thursday, May 16th 2019 at 09:40
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Last week, like every other week in usual Kenyan fashion, there was a bad joke on the Internet. Fake news veiled as a joke. This time, it was on the introduction of uniforms for university students.

It is ridiculous how many people believed the ‘news’ about the introduction of uniforms for universities and reacted to it. If the same attention was given to issues that are more pressing, this would be a model country.

Emotions were high, opinions varied but the general drift was the same: “We can’t have uniforms”. I agree.

If there ever comes a time for such an inane system to be introduced, it will fail terribly because university is already an equaliser.

It is the one place you will find extremes on the farthest ends of the spectrum that do not care what the other looks like. After all, they are relatively well-functioning adults who know why they went to school.

In campus, you will see a drunkard in sweatpants who last encountered water before Kenya sold its soul to China.

This drunk will be walking with someone who showers thrice a day and washes their clothes with the same frequency. They do not draw stares because nobody cares. Not when you are carrying the intellectual burden of the country.

Uniforms would fail for many other reasons. University, unlike high school, does not demand full attendance. When it does, there is always a friend -or a friend of a friend, who can fakes ones signature and cover for them. Imagine telling Mike, who shows up to school on exam days that he needs to buy three sets of uniform. What for?

Of course, there’s the money aspect that is often overlooked. Nobody, except for a new mum, needs money more than someone in campus. Really. The needs are endless and the peanuts from the government are almost useless, especially if they hit the account during the holiday as they usually do.

Then there’s the whole thing about accommodating people from all ages and walks of life.

You can’t expect someone’s grandmother pursuing her PhD to wear the same uniform as someone who can hardly fill a training bra.

Instead of discussing uniforms, let us talk about how we can prevent premature deaths. Let’s discuss the nonchalance exhibited by staff in higher institutions of learning.

Let’s shake tables with conversations about redundant courses because there’s no way one is wearing a uniform for a class that is taught once a month for two hours, at odd times of the day and dictated from a handout.

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