The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) changed the uniform of its students in the last academic session and made it compulsory earlier this year, but is yet to provide money to purchase the new set of clothes, causing distress to several parents.
Sources in SDMC schools said that given the peculiar situation, several students aren’t wearing new sweaters as they have not got the Rs 1,100 subsidy that was promised in the budget.
A majority of students in corporation schools, which offer education till Class V, are from financially weaker backgrounds. About 2.5 lakh students study in 581 schools under SDMC.
“Last year, too, the subsidy was credited into the bank account of students only after the academic session was over. This time, if they give it in March after winter is over, what’s the point,” said an official at a school.
In October last year, the SDMC had changed the uniform from blue pants, white shirt and grey sweater to grey pants, check shirt and light maroon sweater.
It made the new uniform compulsory in this academic session, but is yet to provide the subsidy to purchase it.
Noor Jahan, whose eight-year-old daughter studies in Mahavir Enclave, said they had made the announcement “abruptly”.
“Early last year, I had purchased a new uniform for my child, which became redundant once the switch was made. My husband works in a factory; we have a limited income. The school should provide subsidies on time,” she said.
A principal at a South MCD school said, “If we have to make these students compete with those in private schools, we should ensure there is uniformity in what they wear, as well as functional desks and benches. At the moment, you will see some students wearing old uniform, and some wearing the new sweater.”
Education committee chairman Nandini Sharma said, “The uniform was changed because the white shirt got dirty faster… Students have not got the subsidy because of a financial crisis. We got around Rs 40 crore from the Delhi government, in comparison to Rs 80 crore that we got last year. So we will be able to give students Rs 500, and not Rs 1,100. It will be credited into their accounts soon.”
Leader of the opposition, AAP’s Praveen Kumar, said, “First of all, I don’t see any logic in changing the colour of the sweater. People studying in MCD schools are from very poor background, so there was no need to impose the burden of a new uniform. Second, they have made Delhi government an excuse for everything.” He added that the South MCD should “make arrangements for funds before taking such an initiative”.