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Academic year nearing fag end, but Bengal students yet to get uniforms

Byadmin

Aug 7, 2022


Delay due to govt. takeover of distribution process, say school principals

Delay due to govt. takeover of distribution process, say school principals

It is almost seven months since the academic year began, but students in schools run by the West Bengal government are yet to get their uniforms. The last they were issued uniforms was in December 2020, and many students, having outgrown them, now go to school in their regular clothes.

The academic year for schools begins in January, by which each student up to Class 8 gets two sets of uniform, but it is already August and there are no signs of them yet. The primary reason behind the delay this year, according to several principals who did not wish to be named, is the State Government’s decision to take over the process of uniform distribution and keep schools out of it. Concerned officials did not respond to calls for comment on the delay.

According to these principals, uniforms are paid for under the Samagra Shiksha Mission. There are about one crore students in West Bengal and the total amount required is about ₹600 crore, of which 60% is borne by the Centre and 40% by the State.

“Earlier, schools would call tenders from among self-help groups (SHG) and the selected SHG would take measurements, select the fabric and get it inspected by the school and deliver the uniforms. The Government would allot funds to schools based on enrolment, the schools would in turn pay the SHG on actuals, and unutilised funds if any, would go back to the Government. From this year, schools have no role to play. The State Government will directly pay the suppliers,” said the principal of a school located in the outskirts of Kolkata.

Uniforms from SHGs

It was in March this year that schools were told that uniforms would be supplied by SHGs appointed by the government, and that the entire process would be controlled directly by the Samagra Shiksha Mission. The State Government, in its order, also made it known that uniforms in all schools would henceforth be blue and white — a colour combination favoured by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Until now, the choice of colour was left to individual schools.

“As of now our uniform is white-and-green checked shirt with green skirt, but hereafter it will be white shirt and sky-blue skirt,” said the headmistress of a Kolkata-based girls’ school. “So many children have outgrown their uniforms — this is the age when they grow fast — and are being forced to attend school without uniforms. But what can we do? We are no longer involved.”


“As of now our uniform is white-and-green checked shirt with green skirt, but hereafter it will be white shirt and sky-blue skirt”HeadmistressGirls’ school, Kolkata