Parents fume over costly new uniforms

23 January 2020 | Education

Parents say the introduction of good-looking school uniforms does not guarantee an improvement in academic performance, behaviour or attendance.

Last week, Namibian Sun caught up with concerned parent Paulus Kaalushu while he was doing back-to-school shopping for three of his children.

“Over the past years, learners used to wear traditional school uniforms that used to be obtained from local stores at a cheaper price, but all of a sudden, schools are moving away from these uniforms and going for tailor-made uniforms which are expensive.

“They are not included in the money schools get from government. Do these uniforms guarantee our children good performance?” fumed Kaalushu.

“They are saying that parents who cannot afford new uniforms can use the old uniforms. Do they know what it means for a child to look different from the rest of the children? Is that not discrimination? Do they think such learners and parents will feel comfortable?”

A few years ago, the education ministry issued a circular informing government schools to do away with traditional school uniforms and introduce fashionably designed ones.

This was aimed at creating employment and empowering local tailors. However, some parents have complained that the new uniforms are too expensive.

Local tailors were trained by Indian consultants in uniform manufacturing and design, and uniform outlets were opened in most parts of the country.

Many schools, especially those in towns, have already introduced new uniforms. However, those at villages are still struggling.

The uniforms introduced include school shirts, ties, jerseys or jackets, tracksuits, socks, skirts and trousers. Education ministry spokesperson Absalom Absalom said school uniforms are being changed for a number of reasons.

He also said the changes are done in consultation with the school board and management.

A uniform manufacturer in the north, Anneli Luaanda of Anneli Fashion Design, said many of the new uniforms are made of quality materials, unlike the traditional uniforms.

“In most cases, our material choices are of quality and suitable for the children's environments. Parents can go up to three years without buying a new uniform, unlike the others,” she said.

ILENI NANDJATO

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