Growing up, we wore school uniform to school and for the most part we hated it. We had to wear uniform from primary school all the way through high school. On a few occasions, like when we would have a party we would be allowed to carry some ”home clothes” and wear them for the party. We would plan our outfit for weeks, this was such a great occasion because you could now show off your ”sunday best” as we called it.
I remember we would watch tv and see kids in America never wore uniform to school and we would be so envious, I remember even when my niece was leaving Kenya to relocate to the states, she was worried about school and how she was going to fit in, the only thing she had to look forward to was the no school uniform.
On a few occasions, the uniform discussion would come up in school, and our teachers would always explain to us = the reasons and benefits of wearing school uniform. You wear school uniform so you can all be equal, when you have uniform you cannot tell apart the less fortunate and the rich kids, so you interact as equals and treat others as equals. This offcourse to us made no sense. All we wanted was to look different from each other, to show off our cute outfits and new shoes (which was probably just one or two) but we felt if we wore ‘home clothes’ then that would be a good excuse to get more outfits.
But now that I am older, I realize that what we were always told was possibly true, that there were benefits to wearing uniform. We had a very diverse group in school, from kids from affluent backgrounds to kids who came from struggling families. But in school we didn’t realize the difference, maybe when you saw the car that would pick some people up we would realize they were rich or sometimes they would bring some toys to show off. But other than that we felt very equal.
I have seen a lot of kids here, in the states, have a lot of issues because they cant afford to buy a pair of the new designer sneakers, or not having a particular designers clothes. I have also seen how much money it costs parents to do shopping when kids are going back to school.
They keep growing and always need new clothes when going to school and its expensive and even after spending so much money, its not always appreciated since that is not what all the kids are wearing.
It builds character and strength having to go to school in what is not considered to be ‘cool’ by your peers but it also leads to a lot of bullying and discrimination. Our images separate us and that is why I believe wearing uniform is beneficial. We are already separated by so many other things, why add more.