Around two million of the total 8.3 million school students in Madhya Pradesh are still to get their uniforms even as only two months of the current academic session are left. Officials claimed the model code which was in place due to the November assembly election caused the delay in the distribution of school uniforms.
According to a school education department official, till the last academic session, the government used to transfer the money directly into the students’ accounts but last January, then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the school education would provide stitched uniforms to the students and that the stitching would be done by self-help groups (SHG). The basic motive was to provide work to women under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
“After this decision, the order was released in March and the work of stitching dresses of 83 lakh students begun. Only a few dresses could be completed till October but the distribution stopped when the model code of conduct (MCC) came into effect. Distribution of uniforms began again in December but self-help groups were unable to provide the quality and quantity needed,” the official said.
The education minister in the previous BJP government, Deepak Joshi, said the government had come up with a very good system to provide jobs to women as well as stitched dresses to the students, but the process was delayed due to elections. “The present government should speed up the process so that students can get the uniforms at least before the elections,” he said.
School education minister, Prabhuram Choudhary, blamed the previous government’s negligence for the problem. “We are trying our best to speed up the process to distribute the uniforms,” he said.
Some students, who have received the uniform, complained of the quality. A student of Rashidia School, Bhopal, Shivani Singh said, “I have just received my uniform but I can’t wear it because it is too short. It is useless for me.”
MP teachers’ association general secretary Ashutosh Pandey said, “Many students got badly made uniforms and when we complained we were asked to take the measurements again and send them to SHG for proper stitching.”
The principal of a government middle school of Agar Malwa Rajneesh Swarnkar said, “The school uniform is necessary as it brings uniformity and equality among the students. Parents of students inquire daily about uniforms but what can we do.”
Rashtriya Sikhsha Kendra (RSK) director Irene Cynthia said, “Around 20 lakh uniforms are yet to be distributed. We are trying hard so that distribution can be completed soon. The delay happened due to SHGs and model code of conduct.”
First Published: Feb 12, 2019 20:49 IST