School Uniforms Here To Stay - Motshekga

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, has emphasised that although uniforms are a challenge for some parents, they are here to stay and government will instead make them more accessible.

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School uniforms play a bigger role than one would think when it comes to a child's schooling and some parents struggle with this. Now, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has reiterated that they are not going anyway as Government will instead look to make them more accessible.

Even before the pandemic, school uniforms were a heavy purchase for some parents and once you add the struggles of the pandemic, parents are overcome with the struggles of paying for school uniforms. 

Department of Basic Education's (DBE) Minister Motshekga said:

This is very close to my heart and I think anybody who comes from a poor background - like ourselves - or a township will tell you the value of a school uniform.

School uniforms are a requirement for a child attending school with some schools having their uniforms only sold at certain places, often at a high price.

In efforts to make uniforms more accessible and affordable, the Competition Commission and School Governing Body Associations are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday.

Ruling that school uniforms no longer need to be worn is however not an option as Motshekga explains:

Home clothes are a big problem because they’re a social indicator and if you remove school uniforms you’re going to begin to show which kids come from rich families and those who don't.

You might think that they're just kids but kids very often care about the impression they give off through their clothing and shoes and having casual clothes every school day will certainly make this worse. Children won't want to be embarrassed and might even refuse to go to school just because their clothes are "not good enough".

Motshekga said children in high school are already “conscious of themselves” and that some might even drop out because of their image.

Having a uniform is therefore seen as the best equaliser and it helps the sector identify learners and manage their movements.

As for how schooling under a pandemic works, learners use a rotational timetable where they are only in class for some days of the week, which Motshekga says is a major curriculum problem and has disrupted schooling.

This year's Grade 12s attended school for less than six months. They came back in June and when they came back they had to rotate classes. It means schools are starting from 2020 before they can even deal with 2021. It's a problem.

The Minister is now calling for learners to do more extracurricular activities.

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