By Prudence Minayo
Principals of secondary schools in Kenya are mandated with steering the institution under their watch to the path of excellence. This is measured by how students in their respective institutions perform in the final Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination and to a small extent in extra-curricular activities. Principals are known to don suits which gives them that aura of authority. Others, however, have chosen to wear the school uniform, with the intention of showing students that they are approachable. In other instances, it is so that they can camouflage with the intention of catching those who engage in nutty activities.
WoK lists some of the Principals known to wear school uniforms.
Wilson Achoko is the principal of Barwesa Secondary School in Baringo county. He is one of the principals who dons the school uniform with the intention of making the students feel free and open to speak to him. He said that at the beginning, students never went into his office until he started dressing like them.
He also introduced an open door policy so that students could easily tell him their issues. His reawakening came about when a girls dormitory was torched in 2020. This was because some students knew it was going to happen but did not reach out.
Wilson says since becoming more open with the students, they have been able to register better results.
Alex Maina Kariuki
Alex Maina is the principal of Friends School Kamusinga. When he was first sent to the school, he faced a lot of opposition. The Daily Nation reported that a number of Bungoma MCAs marched into the school and forcefully frogmarched him out of the office. They felt he was not fit to hold the office.
But it was due to the fact that he wore the school uniform, something he does not consider strange at all. He said he wears the uniform for the benefit of the students. According to him, it is a way to get to their level and appear reachable. He said that he used to put on the school uniform even before he was posted to Friends School Kamusinga.
“From the previous school I came from, Ololaiser high school, it was my tradition to put on school uniform Mondays and Fridays,” he was quoted by the Daily Nation.
Fred Mogaka is the principal of Kisii High School. He has often been praised for improving relationships between students and teachers, and fighting illegal drugs in the school. The principal also awards the top performing students and has taken them out for a principal’s dinner at a four star hotel.
He told Nation that he started wearing the school uniform while he was still deputy principal at Riokindo Boys. The 47-year-old says this not only endeared him to the students but it was a way to go undercover and find out what was happening. He continued wearing the school uniform even after joining Kisii School. He says that during his time, he doesn’t expect there to be a strike in the school. There may be trouble but not a strike.