After a delay of more than two months, the UT Education Department on Thursday directed government schools to float tenders for the purchase of summer uniforms. If all goes well, the students should get the uniforms when the schools reopen after summer vacation on July 1.
Originally, the students were supposed to get the uniforms at the start of the academic session on April 15. Officials are blaming the model code of conduct for the delay.
All 1.9 lakh students of classes I to VIII are entitled to get the uniform, which consists of a half-sleeve shirt and a pair of trousers for boys and a half-sleeve shirt and a skirt, or salwar-kameej, for girls. In winter, the students get full-sleeve shirts, woollen trousers and a sweater.
The last winter uniform was given in January, at the fag end of the winter, minus the sweater. The distribution of last summer uniform had continued until November.
The 108 government schools have been asked to float tenders by April 28, with May 12 as the closing date for bids, which will be opened on May 13. The processing of tenders and placing order with suppliers will take about a month.
Sarvjeet Singh, Education-cum-Finance Secretary, said, “Schools have been asked to place advertisements for purchase of the uniforms on April 25. Rs 4 crore has been sanctioned from the department so that there is no delay from the schools’ side to pay for their purchases.”
The plan of the Education Department was to float tenders by February 15, so that the summer uniform was distributed by April 15 in all schools.
DPI (S) Kamlesh Kumar said, “The entire process was delayed because the model code of conduct was imposed in the city and no tenders could be floated.’’
But the model code of conduct came into force on March 3, much after the date when tenders should have been issued.
Kumar said, “The important thing is that the students this year will get the summer uniforms during summer only and not in the months of September or October, as happened last year. As per the plans, the schools will be in a position to distribute the uniforms on July 1 when the schools will reopen after summer vacation.”
The Education Department has also decided to streamline the process. Though the tenders will be floated by the schools individually, the department will look after the process.
Since the schools are not competent enough to handle the process, the department would assist them by bringing out a joint advertisement of the tender on its website, with links to the schools’ websites in order to save time, Kumar said.
Vinod Kumar Sharma, principal of the Government Model High School, Sector 34, said, “We have been issued letters by the department about the procurement rates of the uniforms; these are the same as last year. The uniform for classes I to V will cost Rs 300 while the uniform for classes VI to VIII will cost Rs 375.’’
These are the highest rates that the administration is willing to pay. But, last year, the schools had to pay much higher rates than those fixed by the administration.