society

UAE parents speak on cost of school uniforms

They question the logic of private schools insisting on dispensing uniforms from designated stores that charge a lot

07:00 September 10, 2017

Worldwide, parents from schools in UK and other parts of Europe, Australia and the subcontinent are demanding trend of generic uniforms in schools and to discontinue the practice to have designated shops or outlets. Gulf News asked parents in UAE for their views on the expenses incurred for school uniforms in private schools

Uniform dress code

“If schools across the country can have [standard] yellow buses, why can’t we have a uniform dress code with just different badges, just like what the government schools follow? The quality control of the fabric must be done at the point of entry and the benefit of the bulk purchase should filter down to parents who are paying a huge sum of money to educate a child from kindergarten to high school in this country. This must change.”

Out of budget

“I used to earlier buy two sets of my son’s uniform for Dh300 and now for the new school just two pairs of the core uniform have cost me Dh550. A tie was priced at Dh60 and I still have to buy shoes, belt and books for my child. I hadn’t budgeted for this steep expenditure.”

A mother who shifted her grade four child from an Indian school to a British curriculum school

 

Frequent changes in uniform

“Just a minor colour change and we were asked to buy clothes from a particular shop in Mirdif. I live beyond Umm Suqeim and we have to find time to drive down to the Mirdif branch of this shop to pick up uniforms which are expensive. I am a working mother; this uniform company has branches in Al Barsha and Jumeirah but these branches do not stock the changed uniform. Had the school not changed the uniform, I could have used the same skirt or trousers for my daughter and son but have been forced to buy pairs of new sets for them each year. Added to that is the inconvenience of going all the way to Mirdif to pick up the uniform. This is plain tyranny.”

— A mother on her children’s school that changed its uniform code three times in five years.


Escalating costs

“In all other ways, the school is considerate towards parents’ concerns, but we are forced to get uniforms from an allocated store. The fabric used is definitely not worth the price. Why do we not have the option to get the uniforms stitched from elsewhere, as long as we follow the dress code and affix the logos?

“I have three children in the same school, so the cost adds up. Then there are other things to consider, like new shoes,”

T. Ahmad, investment administration executive from India, father of three daughters. He spends about Dh400 per child on uniforms.


Unjustified expense

“My three children are active and growing, and I need to get at least three pairs of uniforms for each child at the start of the academic year. These then tend to wear out and I have to replace them later on. But the expense seems unreasonable, especially as I end up spending at least Dh10,000 on uniforms alone,”

“Not only are the uniforms steeply priced, but we are forced to buy Dh300 blazers that are simply uncomfortable. How can this expense be justified?” 
- M.A., an Abu Dhabi-based British homemaker. Her children attend two of the most expensive British curriculum private schools in the capital.