NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 23 – Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo says he has no apologies to make over his recent statement in support of school girls agitating for modern school uniforms.
Speaking on Capital FM’s current affairs talk show, Talk360, Kilonzo said church leaders who had demanded an apology from him ‘misunderstood’ him on the issue.
The minister said he was surprised that his sentiments had drawn so much heat saying that he only meant that the schoolgirls should be allowed to wear skirts that are ‘slightly below the knee or at the knee length.’
“Tell the bishops I have no apologies to make, because I love nuns and their uniforms but they are not my objective in education,” he said.
Kilonzo had said school girls should not be dressed like nuns.
The Catholic Church demanded the Education Minister to retract what it termed as a derogatory statement over nuns’ dressing.
The Catholic Church through the Kenya Episcopal Conference accused the minister of promoting immorality and indiscipline in schools by supporting students’ demands to wear short skirts.
They also accused the minister of failing to respect nuns, describing his comments as unfortunate and amounting to promoting immorality in schools.
The bishops said miniskirts were not part of the Kenyan tradition and that schools were supposed to be custodians of common decency.
He was referring to Rwathia Secondary School in Kangema, where girls went on strike because the administration has refused to allow them to wear short skirts.
But Kilonzo said he respected nuns and said he only wanted schoolgirls’ uniforms to be sensitive to the students’ self esteem.
The Education Minister explained: “That’s why I said we are not producing nuns because they are produced by the church. For purposes of education I am looking at Vision 2030… I am looking at economic development, I am looking for girls who when they are in class, they feel like they are girls; feel like they are smart, which make them confident and this makes learning even much easier.”