To all secondary schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America:
Please let us know the cost of a full school uniform
and school fees in your school
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why it is important for school uniforms to be free
Although school fees have been abolished for primary school children in most developing countries, secondary schools often require parents to pay fees and/or a payment into the school’s development fund. Secondary school pupils, in addition, have to pay for their own books, stationery and uniforms. All of these costs inevitably mean that some children do not attend secondary school and miss out on all its benefits.
Cost of secondary school uniforms
BANGLADESH: Dhaka £20
MALAWI: Blantyre £20
TANZANIA: Zanzibar £ 8
NEPAL: Dhangadhi £35
BOTSWANA: Lerala £60
What reports say about school uniforms
According to the World Bank, school fees (fees for books, materials and some exams) are among the major obstacles to universal primary education in developing countries. Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa have taken strides towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015 by eliminating school fees,but other significant costs remain, including the cost of providing a school uniform for a child.
A study by IPA (Innovations for Poverty Action) on The Impact of Distributing School Uniforms on Children's Education in Kenya found that receiving a free school uniform had a strong positive impact on student school participation. Giving a uniform reduces school absenteeism by 6.4 percentage points (43%) from a base of 15% school absenteeism. The effect is 3.4 percentage points larger for students who did not have a uniform at the baseline.
…. as seen with the fee abolition trend at the primary level, even when school is made free, families can still pay significant amounts for their children’s education. It has been shown that providing school uniforms decreases dropout, reduces absenteeism and encourages grade progression, for instance. (Global Education Monitoring Report)
“Even where schooling is free, ancillary expenses – uniforms, classroom supplies or exam fees, for example – are often high enough to prevent children from attending school.” (The State of the World’s Children 2012)
The South African Education Department is concerned about the cost of school uniforms to the majority of parents in the country. There has been considerable media speculation about the possiblity of scrapping school uniforms altogether. Pep stores conducted a survey in November last year to find out parents' attitudes to buying school uniforms.
According to the retailer's marketing director, Nobesuthu Tom, 66% of parents would like their schools to help them with the costs by standardising the uniform instead of having clothing in special school colours.
The survey also revealed that though 70% of respondents know that it is against the law for any school to turn away a child for not wearing the school uniform, 59% said they knew of an incident where a child had been turned away. (BBC News, 22.9.03)
In places like Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, many families cannot scrape together the resources to buy mandatory school uniforms – a reality that sometimes keeps daughters at home.
Parents of school students in Beer Degig refugee camp in West Darfur pleaded with school authorities on Thursday to reverse their decision of making school uniforms mandatory.Parents of the displaced school children told Radio Dabanga that they could not buy the shirts and pants prescribed by the school, given the high costs involved. “One set of uniform costs 70 pounds, that is impossible for us to afford with the increasing rate of poverty and the high cost of living in the camps,” one of the parents said.
Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday that he plans to implement the “no uniform” policy on public schools. The tough-talking Duterte said having school uniform is just additional burden for the parents and students. The outgoing mayor of Davao City added he is eyeing to eradicate all school fees collected from public school students.
Parents welcomed the pronouncements of incoming president Duterte. They said that Duterte’s plan to implement the “no uniform” policy on public schools will help parents in cutting down expenses.