VIJAYAWADA: With the new academic year just round the corner, parents in the city are busy buying school accessories for their children. However, many parents claim that purchasing branded school uniforms, stationery and shoes from the outlets suggested by the school management burns a hole in their pocket.
For instance, a branded school bag costs somewhere between Rs 800 and Rs 1,000 while a normal school bag costs between Rs 300 and Rs 500. “A week before the start of the academic year, the school gives us a list of accessories to be brought. Everything right from the school uniform to socks has to be bought from the outlet prescribed by the school. This shop sells such items at twice the market price. We have no choice but to buy from there,” said V Mukesh, whose 12-year-old son studies in a private school in the city.
K Deepa, a parent of a Class IX student, said, “We got a list of books to buy from the school. Besides textbooks and notebooks, this list consists of many helpers such as workbooks and guides. These books are more expensive than the textbooks. In fact, they are rarely used by the children during the year.’’
“My son insisted that I should buy him a new school bag even though I bought him a branded one a few months ago. I am left with no choice but to buy him the school uniform from the outlets prescribed by the school management,” said G Saritha, a parent of a class V student.
Students Federation of India (SFI) State leader K Praveen alleged that the parents were forced to spend anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 on school accessories alone. He claimed that many schools had tie-ups with certain brands and shops and that some schools even invite vendors to sell such products on their premises on particular days before the start of the academic year.
“Parents are compelled to buy from the vendors prescribed by the schools. Schools indulging in such activities should be penalised. The issue will be taken to the notice of district education officer and higher authorities,” he said.