Teachers struggle to provide students uniforms in Rs 400
The facility of free uniforms to government school students up to Class 8 is spelling trouble for the teachers, who struggle to buy all the items from the paltry sum they are supposed to spend.
Teachers have to buy trousers, shirt, cap, sweater, shoes, socks from meager Rs 400. In case of girls trousers and shirt get replaced by salwar-kameez. The only option left with the teachers is compromise with the quality of clothes.
"We can't compromise with the quantity as we have to keep a record. Quality can't be maintained," said a teacher.
"The items are too many and amount is small. We have been getting the same amount for the last three years. Students grow in height and their clothes get costlier with each passing year. So most of times, we are dependent on donors or parents of students," said another teacher of a government school.
"For girls, arranging salwar-kameez and dupatta and getting them stitched is a costly affair. Shoes cannot be bought for less than Rs 100," said a teacher.
"When the scheme was launched, inflation was not as high and one could buy the full uniform with the amount," claimed another teacher.
Teachers also rued that the amount for uniforms is released across the state at the same time and demand for school uniforms go up and shopkeepers hike their prices.
They also pointed out that students of the general category were getting a raw deal as the government doesn't provide them free uniforms. "This is not justified as most of the general category students come from very poor background. Those who are better off send their kids to private schools," said a teacher. "The facility should be for all without prejudice of caste and creed," he added.
"All items of the uniform of decent quality cost double the amount provided for the same," said Rajinder Singh Jassal, a tailor.
The funds are provided once in a year under the Sarv Sikhsha Abhiyan.
The education officials of the district declined to comment on the issue.