Roman Mikhailov: ‘New standard may entail a change in prices for school uniforms’
Expert — on whether school uniforms are necessary
According to the law “On Education in the Russian Federation”, an educational organisation has the right to establish requirements for students' clothing, including its general appearance, colour, style, insignia, as well as rules for wearing it. The purchase of a school uniform can be quite expensive, especially if there are several children in the family. Besides, school uniforms usually have a limited service life, so they have to be bought or updated every year or half a year. Roman Mikhailov, the chairman of the education committee of New People political party, in the author's column for Realnoe Vremya discusses whether school uniforms are necessary and how to reduce the cost of it.
“Purchase of a school uniform can be quite expensive, especially if there are several children in the family”
Here are a few factors that can lead to a high cost of school uniforms:
- Children's growth: children grow up quickly, and the shape may no longer suit them after a few months or a year. This means that parents have to buy a new one every time the old one gets small.
- Wear and damage: school uniforms are exposed to everyday wear and can quickly wear out or be damaged. This may require replacing elements of the uniform, such as shirts, trousers, skirts or dresses.
- Changes to the rules: some schools may make changes to their rules regarding school uniforms. For example, they may require a certain colour or design, which may lead to the need to purchase a new uniform.
The results of a VTSIOM survey showed that every second Russian spends money on preparing their children for the new school year. Clothing for school is the most expensive item, its cost per student is an average of 20,414 rubles (which is by 23% more than in 2022), including school uniforms, sports uniforms, school shoes, as well as other clothes and shoes. Besides, the purchase of a new satchel, backpack or bag will cost an average of 4,998 rubles (which is by 21% more than in 2022).
“A uniform can be the cause of discrimination and inequality”
Some believe that the uniform in schools contributes to the creation of a unified style and community among students. It avoids diversity in clothing and sets certain standards that must be met by everyone. This can lead to a stronger sense of belonging to the school and its team, as well as to a decrease in the likelihood of conflicts between students due to differences in clothing. Also, the supporters of school uniform believe that the uniform is a way of expressing respect for the school and its traditions. It allows students to understand that they are part of a large community and must follow certain rules that help maintain order and discipline. In addition to the above arguments, it is also worth noting that uniforms in schools can be useful for creating a safe environment for students. It can help identify students who are not members of the school community and prevent possible security threats.
However, despite all of the above advantages, many people believe that the uniform in schools is an unnecessary formality and limitation for students. They claim that the form does not allow them to express their personality and style, which can lead to negative emotions and discomfort in some students. There are also other reasons why it is better not to buy a school uniform. For example, many children do not like to wear uniforms, they feel uncomfortable and not free in such clothes. This can negatively affect their mood and academic performance at school.
Besides, the form can be an additional financial burden for families, especially for those who have several children. Some schools require students to wear uniforms every day, which can be expensive and inconvenient for many families.
Also, uniform can be the cause of discrimination and inequality. Some schools require students to wear certain types of clothing that may not be appropriate for certain religious or cultural groups. This can lead to feelings of isolation and inequality among students. If the family decides not to buy a school uniform, they will have the opportunity to spend the money saved on other important things for themselves. For example, they can buy additional textbooks, a computer or other equipment that will help children in their studies. They can also send them to additional classes or clubs that will help children develop and unlock their potential.
There are a number of measures to reduce the cost of school uniforms:
- Universal uniform: choosing a universal uniform that meets the requirements of several schools can help save money, since it can be used for several children or for several years.
- Using second-hand options: in some cases, it is possible find a high-quality second-hand school uniform that is still in good condition and at a lower price than a new one. Check local ads or internet sites to search for such offers.
- Exchange or transfer of a uniform: if you have friends or acquaintances whose children have graduated from school or no longer need a form, you can exchange or receive from them a form that they no longer use.
- Sales: many stores hold sales before the start of the school year or at the end of the season. At this time, one can find a form at a lower price and save money.
- Careful handling of uniforms: regular maintenance and proper storage of school uniforms can help extend their service life. Follow the washing and storage instructions to avoid unnecessary damage.
“The decision to buy a school uniform should be based on individual preferences”
A common approach to reduce the cost of school uniforms is planning and budgeting. Creating a budget for the purchase of uniforms and finding opportunities to save money will help to cope with this financial burden for the family, but it is especially interesting to compare opinions against the background of the news that by the end of the second half of 2024 Roskachestvo specialists plan to develop a final version of the standard for school uniforms. The companies wishing to use this standard for labelling their goods will be required to follow the new requirements of GOST.
The main advantages of developing a standard for school uniforms can be as follows:
- Unification of requirements: the standard will unify the requirements for school uniforms, which will help ensure uniform quality and safety standards for consumers.
- Consumer protection: the standard can provide consumer protection, including transparency and information about the quality and characteristics of school uniforms.
- Quality improvement: the standard can encourage companies to improve the quality of their products and meet requirements, which can lead to improved durability and functionality of school uniforms.
However, it is worth noting that the introduction of the new standard may potentially lead to a change in prices for school uniforms. Companies can make changes to their products to meet new requirements, which can affect the cost of production and ultimately the final price for consumers.
In conclusion, it should be said that schools should be flexible and, first of all, take into account the needs and preferences of the majority of students and their families. Realising that school uniforms are the most expensive part for purchasing the necessary school supplies for preparing a child to school, deputies led by Vice-Speaker of the State Duma Vladislav Davankov submitted to the house of parliament a draft bill on the right of parents of schoolchildren to block the decision of the management of an educational organisation to introduce compulsory school uniforms. However, in general, the decision to buy a school uniform should be based on the individual preferences and financial capabilities of each family.
The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.