Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
2 minute read
12 Jan 2022
6:15 am

Calls for standardised school uniform get support

Reitumetse Makwea

A parent said that the price of uniforms had rapidly gone up over the past few years, with many spending more than R2 000 a year.

Picture: iStock

While back-to-school shopping was in full swing with schools reopening this week, many parents across the country have been dreading buying uniforms and many have called for one universal school uniform.

A parent, Mmapula Sekwaila, said the price of uniforms had rapidly gone up over the past few years, with many spending more than R2 000 a year to buy new uniforms and stationery.

She said a universal uniform could differ from primary and high school.

“My daughter cannot fit into her clothes any more. I was lucky that I bought some in bigger sizes but I will still have to fork out for school shoes, socks and new sports attire, not to mention the stationery list,” she said.

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“Every year we go on a treasure hunt to find new school uniforms and make orders ahead, but imagine a world where the only uniform could be blue and white, maroon, grey or black with the different ties and logos.” According to another parent, Muzi Solomozi, large-scale retailers such as Woolworths, Mr Price, Pep and Ackermans, were selling their own product lines, which were mostly affordable.

“It would be easier to just buy uniforms in the shops like you’re buying Christmas clothes.

“That way you don’t even need to wait for the colour scheme when your child starts a new school,” he said.

The general secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Matakanye Matakanye, welcomed the call, saying a universal uniform could be the solution as they look for ways to put an end to exclusive supply deals.

“Once there is a uniform uniform, parents will be able to buy from any supplier or shop with lesser amounts of money, unlike being forced to buy where there are green contracts,” Matakanye said.

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“We need to focus on protecting kids and if a way to protect kids from being victimised or them not attending school because of their old uniform or not having any uniform at all, then yes, the parents are correct.”

The Competition Commission of South Africa has also urged schools, school governing bodies and parents to help find ways to lower the price of school uniforms and other learning-related materials.

The commission said school uniforms should be as generic as possible and be obtainable from as many suppliers as possible to give parents more options.

“Where deemed necessary, exclusivity should only be limited to a few ‘must’ items that the schools regard as necessary to obtain from pre-selected suppliers, for example a school badge,” the commission added.