Almost seven months after the UT administration made efforts to open bank accounts to solve the problem of delay in uniform distribution, for over one lakh local government schools students of Classes 1 to 8, parents express disappointment over the initiative.
A few claim no money has been transferred into their accounts ever since, the majority lament over the insufficiency of the ‘meager amount’ transferred.
Education department officials had decided to implement the new arrangement of opening bank accounts to ensure transparency in distribution of uniforms among students. The then DPI (s) Kamlesh Kumar had said ‘neither students would have to wait for school authorities for uniforms nor would the staff have to wait for contractors to send dresses to schools’.
Loopholes in initiative
The department had decided to transfer a total of Rs 300 for students from Classes 1 to 5 and Rs 375 for students from Classes 6 to 8. However, parents feel this doesn’t suffice. Parents of Isha and Sanju of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, said it was practically impossible to purchase uniforms. “We have only received a total of Rs 300 per child in our bank accounts since June which isn’t enough to buy the prescribed shirt and pants in case of boys and shirt and skirt in case of my daughter,” said their mother Lakshmi, a domestic worker. Similarly, Raj Kumar, a security guard at a samparak centre, whose kids study at a government school in Sector 36, said, “We should have been given `375 as my daughter is a student of Class 7, but so far only `300 has been deposited in the account which doesn’t suffice.” His wife added, “Also, why doesn’t the department also provide money for shoes and socks? Aren’t those as much a part of the dress code.”
Sham Bahadur, a Manimajra resident whose three kids study at the government model school there said other accessories like belt and tie also lead to additional costs. “What were officials thinking when they thought the entire set would come in this amount. Nowadays, kids’ clothes are more expensive than ours,” added Bahadur.
A parent requesting anonymity, whose kids study in the Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 22, lamented about how the department didn’t even think of the two sets of uniforms. The daily school uniform and sports kit/white dress. “If the provision was to provide free uniform to students till Class 8 than how is it that administration ignores these things. Isn’t the sports uniform as much a part of a child’s school uniform?” remarked the parent.
School heads play safe
School heads said they have been taking required steps and go by whatever is instructed to them by department officials. Vice-principal Rajan Jain of GMSSS Sector 35 said it wasn’t in their hands if Rs 300 was too small an amount to purchase uniform. Principal Amita Chaddha of Government Model Hight School Sector 35 said, “We have submitted data, regarding notebooks as well, to the education department and hopefully money will be transferred soon.”
The uniform incharge of another government school however said since they hadn’t received any information regarding winter uniform or notebook money from the department, so it was tough to say if the problem would be addressed or not since ‘sweaters cost more’.
Blamed no matter what: Education department
When asked about parents’ concern in this regard, district education officer Viney R Sood said, “When we used to distribute the uniforms at our end, parents claimed it costs less and the department was making money and now that we tried to ensure transparency, they feel we aren’t transferring enough. We are to blame, no matter what.” She added that the department was in the process of transferring money for notebooks as well.
She added shoes and socks didn’t come under the ambit of the uniform and the money being transferred didn’t include sports uniform since all schools didn’t include separate sports uniform.