As the mercury is dropping day by day, several government school students are managing without winter uniforms in the district owing to insufficient amount to purchase the uniforms.
Although, some schools have managed to purchase uniforms for children with the help of local residents or gram panchayats but there are still many government schools that are unable to purchase the dress for Rs 400 only. Withdrawing grants allotted by government is also a cumbersome process due to the ongoing demonetisation move as the education department has decided to transfer money into bank accounts of each beneficiary to purchase uniforms.
Sources in the education department said that district education department has received a grant of Rs 2.14 crore in September this year for 5,035,21 beneficiary students studying in Classes 1 to 8 at government schools. But the scheme which was meant to provide winter clothes to needy students has failed to fulfill the purpose as many students are yet to purchase a new set of school dress, which is not possible with only Rs 400 in hand.
Due to this, the school management committees which used to purchase and distribute dresses among students earlier, have now directed students to purchase the complete set of uniform themselves after providing Rs 400.
As a result, students are being forced to wear old winter uniforms or their parents are shelling out money from their own pockets.
Under the union government scheme, Rs 400 are being given to government school students every academic year for winter uniform. Besides a pair of shoes and woollen sweater, it includes a shirt, a pair of trousers and a cap for boys and a set of salwar, kameez and dupatta for girls.
“In this era of high inflation, Rs 400 are not sufficient to ensure a quality uniform for students as a quality sweater itself costs around Rs 250 to Rs 300. The amount has not been revised for the past eight years,” said a block primary education officer (BPEO) requesting anonymity.
A teacher of government senior secondary school, Khukhrain village in Sultanpur Lodhi said that the school has somehow managed to distribute a pair of shoes and woollen sweater along with a set of salwar, kameez and dupatta to girls but most of the students have not got it stitched citing poor quality and insufficient length of clothes.
Harpal Singh, district education officer (primary), said, “All students have received their winter uniforms as funds have been credited in school accounts a month ago. The schools have been directed to purchase and distribute the uniforms with given funds.”