State likely to ban leather shoes in govt schools

After the Central Board of Secondary Education banned leather shoes in its schools, the government is planning to implement that same decision in all its schools across the state. The decision will cover over 1.5 crore children studying in various schools under the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.

“The government had asked us to give our opinion on banning leather shoes in schools and making canvas shoes compulsory. We had welcomed the move saying it will be good for the environment,” said a senior official of the primary education department of Maharashtra.

Early this year, activists of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had met officials of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and MP Maneka Gandhi to discuss the issue. Following this, the CBSE had issued an advisory to its schools banning leather shoes and asking the staff and students to wear eco-friendly canvas shoes.

“The government only provides uniform material to students. Children are given shoes by various local bodies, civic bodies and trusts. Hence, if the government comes out with a resolution banning leather shoes in schools, local bodies and trusts will be asked to provide only canvas shoes to students,” said Govind Nandede, Joint Director, Primary Education. “Canvas shoes are any day better. Since we have been stressing on the need for protecting the environment, this way we will be able to save a lot of animals from being killed. While there are some schools that allow only rexin-made shoes, many permit leather shoes. After the government resolution, this will stop,” he added.

Welcoming the move, animal rights activists said the ban should also be extended to wallets and belts, also used by schoolchildren. “It is important to spread awareness on animal rights among students and this is the best way to do so. Children have a lot of say in the things that are bought for them. Many teachers wear Kolhapuri chappals, which are made of animal skin. This will stop once the ban comes into effect,” said Lorenzo Standen, COO, People For Animals.

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