Shoe Bite' Hurts, It's Slippers for Government School Kids
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar on Saturday said, “According to the scheme, we had to provide shoes and socks for children. But since getting measurements of all the children would be a huge task, we plan to distribute chappals to them.”
When asked whether measurements are not required for chappals, Rathnakar said, “The plan is to give chappals with velcro belts which are adjustable in case of slight variation in size. But with shoes, this is not possible.”
Though the minister has cited “measurement” as the reason for opting for slippers, top sources in the Education Department’s planning section say it has to do with the “shoestring” budget.
When the scheme was announced by the Chief Minister in his 2015-16 annual budget, the amount set aside for providing free shoes and socks was Rs120 crore. “When we called for a price list from various companies, we realised the cost would be Rs170 crore. Instead of taking on the additional burden of Rs50 crore, it was decided to go in for chappals,” said a source in the department.
“There are over 54.54 lakh children studying between classes 1 and 10 in government schools across the state. The original plan was to provide one pair of shoes and two sets of socks,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the minister told Express that an alternative will be discussed with the chief minister soon. “The decision to opt for chappals is not final. We are also planning to provide students money and let them buy shoes and socks according to their fit.
The idea is to maintain uniformity. The department will inform parents about the pattern and colour scheme of shoes and socks,” said Rathnakar. The matter will be placed before the Cabinet meeting.
[[We had to provide shoes and socks for children. But since getting measurements of all the children would be a huge task, we plan to distribute chappals. Kimmane Rathnakar Primary and Secondary Education Minister