Rural Development dept gets working on having SHGs as school uniform outfitters

Rural Development dept
Fri, Aug 30, 2019

The proposal for having Self Help Groups (SHGs) as government school uniform outfitters has been warmly received by the people across the State, given the feedback coming in social media.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister P.S. Golay had spoken about lack of uniformity and quality in uniforms being supplied by the contractors to the government school students from a centralised location.
Students studying from primary to class VIII in government schools are provide free uniforms by the State government.
Speaking with Rural Development officials at Tashiling Secretariat, Golay said the students are not getting fitting and smartly stitched dresses.
Hence, the Rural Development department was asked to involve SHGs for monitoring and even stitch the school uniforms of the schools in their particular constituency. The overall aim was to ensure that the students get properly tailored uniforms and employment is also generated across the State along with economic sustainability of the SHGs.
Speaking with SIKKIM EXPRESS on Thursday, Rural Development secretary C.S. Rao informed that the proposal of SHGs to make and supply school uniforms has taken a shape. The planning has been initiated and soon discussion with the Education department regarding the proposal will be taken up, he said.
Rao informed that almost all schools are well informed about the decision. To make this successful, there is a requirement of advance orders from the schools so that the orders can be forwarded to the concerned SHGs, he said.
Constituency-wise and local-level sound SHGs would be considered for tailoring work. Once the advance work is met in the next 2-3 months, the order for stitching school uniforms would be issued and we are hopeful that by next financial year, the same would be realised, said Rao.
So far, the State government used to float tenders for supply of school uniforms.
Rao said the school uniforms distributed previously did not fit the students properly though the respective schools had submitted the measurement size of their students. With the new arrangement, proper measurement for the uniforms will be done this time so that the students do not have to face problems, he said.
As per the data from the Education department, there are 768 government schools in Sikkim – 390 primary schools, 168 junior high schools, 120 secondary schools and 90 senior secondary schools.
Total number of students from primary to class VIII as of March 2019 is 52,312 students. The number of students in LKG and UKG is 5,726 while there are 22,578 students from class I to V and 24,008 students from class VI to VIII.
Many took to social media to enthusiastically welcome the decision to outsource the school uniforms to the SHGs.
Social thinker Dewekar Basnet in his social media post said to give school uniform stitching contract to the SHGs is one of most thoughtful gestures by the State government.
“For starters, if this is executed well, this shall fuel economic sustainability in rural economies. This shall also provide opportunities for men and womenfolk, many of them who are skilfully unemployed for several reasons to get back to their machines,” said Basnet.
Third, this will also solve in certain issues of un-employability and also give a direction for individuals to attend skill development classes with more earnestness, Basnet said.
Mamring senior secondary school principal Prahlad Sharma told SIKKIM EXPRESS that the SHGs involvement will benefit the students in terms of proper fitting and accountability. They can come to the school and take measurements of the students individually and give back fitting uniforms, he said. Also, in case of size not matching, the students or school can easily approach the SHGs for readjustment since the SHG members are local persons and also have guardians of the students, he said.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi