Uniform choice

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 April, 2001, 12:00am

The provision and pricing of quality uniforms and sportswear by schools is a matter that needs greater transparency and competition. Our children spend a great deal of their school years in uniforms. I am sure many parents would like to know more about how schools assess and appoint their suppliers.

In some schools, parent-teacher associations have been given greater participation in the selection process. Parents often complain that uniforms and sportswear:

look worn out after just a few trips to the washing machine;

appear overpriced compared with the prices offered for some branded and more reliable non-school clothes in shops and department stores;

seem to be poorly produced with little sign of quality control.

Given the size of the student population in the SAR, the market for school uniforms is lucrative. An exclusive supplier at any fair-sized school stands to make tremendous profits, it seems, and may be tempted into monopolistic practices.

Perhaps it is time for all schools to consider appointing at least two suppliers in order to ensure competition and quality.

I am sure other students and parents have a great deal to say about this too, and I look forward to their comments in this column.