Trade Secretary Moses Kuria has banned public schools from selling school uniforms and textbooks as the State moves to crack down on suppliers colluding with learning institutions to overcharge parents for the items.
Mr Kuria said on Tuesday that the new directive would help manufacturers locked out to get a share of the lucrative market and open more job opportunities to millions.
Parents will now have the freedom of buying school items from preferred traders and will likely bring the cost down. Parents have in recent years raised concerns over exorbitant uniforms and books amid the high cost of living.
“Schools should focus on academia and let parents choose where to buy uniforms from. They totally have no business selling uniforms to parents or students,” said Mr Kuria.
“The textbooks policy will ensure that other potential distributors and manufacturers are given the opportunity to end the dominancy of one distributor and also reduce the unemployment rate in the country.”
Some schools direct students to buy uniforms sourced by the institutions while others require learners to get the items from specific traders which have cut competition, making the products expensive and out of reach for most parents.
Last year National Parents Association (NPA) warned school principals over forcing parents to buy uniforms from specific suppliers saying it contravenes the Competition Act of 2019.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) also gave a directive that schools should allow parents to purchase uniforms from their preferred outlets as long as they meet the required specifications.