JAIPUR : After changing the school curriculum and colour of the ‘saffron’ bicycles awarded to the students, the Ashok Gehlot government has changed the the uniforms for government school students in Rajasthan. About 77 lakh students will now have to get new uniforms as the state government claimed said that the colours of previous uniform, decided three year ago by the Vasundhara Raje government, had a political intent to divide the community. While it is not certain when schools will re-open due to the pandemic, the government’s decision to junk the earlier uniform will cost parents a huge sum of over `450 crores collectively.
In 2017, the BJP government had introduced new school uniforms after a gap of almost 20 years which were identical to the RSS uniform.State Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara claimed that many parents and students had complained that the uniform was intended to divide the community. “We have decided to change these uniforms as students should be kept away from any reflection of political ideology. But final decision on the recommendation of the Commitee will be taken after consulting the chief minister,” he added.
Education experts feel that there is lack of rules for school uniforms. Under normal circumstances, parents should be informed at least one year in advance for any change in uniform. Rajasthan has 75 lakh students in Government schools of which 41 lakhs are girls. According to estimates, the dress of each girl costs around 650 Rupees as a result 266 crores will have to be spent if these new dresses are to be created for the students.
Many have questioned that when private schools are not allowed to change uniform in less than five years, why is the state government insisting on changing it within three years. “The government should be focusing more on improving the quality of education and ensuring better online education,” an expert said.
However, the real problem is for the parents who will have to get these new uniforms made. The parents had already been forced to spend a lot of money due to constant change in books, uniforms and other aspects of school education in the last few years due to political decisions.
The change in school uniforms will add to that burden. “At a time when students are worried about missing classes because of lack of infrastructure for online education, a discussion on the colour of uniforms is untimely and inappropriate,” said Vipin Sharma, the Vice President of Rajasthan Primary and Secondary Teacher’s Union.