20 Million Kuna School Uniforms Project Fails as Expected

Total Croatia News

School uniforms are my original idea – said Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić two years ago, explaining that students in Zagreb’s primary schools would all get the same clothing and footwear in order to “reduce social differences,” reports Večernji List on May 5, 2019.

Thirty-one out of 108 schools decided to adopt the uniforms, with an additional 22 schools saying that some classes would use them. The uniforms were eventually bought for about 12 million kuna paid from the city budget.

A total of 18,631 students joined the project, but the results have been disappointing for the mayor, as evidenced by the fact that this year, according to the city authorities, the number of students will fall by about 10,000. The new clothing is being purchased for 8,688 students in 36 schools, with an additional 5.5 million kuna being spent.

“The parents decided so, and we simply gave up. There were no special benefits, students sometimes wore the prescribed T-shirts, and sometimes they didn’t,” said the principals of those schools which have decided to abandon the project. The first wave of rejections occurred last year when the first eight schools and about five thousand students dropped out, and the trend continues ahead of the 2019/2020 school year.

“The purpose of introducing the uniforms was not to force anyone to wear them. That is why schools are being asked whether they want them at all. In some schools, there have been no changes, while certain schools have decided they do not want them anymore, while some new school have applied,” said the city authorities.

This year, the city will purchase 18,000 polo shirts with short sleeves, 9,000 with long sleeves, the same number of hoodies, and 5,500 plain shirts. The shirts will again include the logos of individual schools, and colours can be chosen from among the nine offered.

“These are good quality shirts, but students rarely wore them. The most common excuse was that they are washing the shirt, others say they do not want to always be in the same clothing, while others said they did not like the colour. We cannot force them to wear the uniforms, nor do we want to force them,” said the principal of one school which has dropped out of the project. She added that the money spent on the clothing, some 20 million kuna in total, could have better been used to buy computers for schools.

“The principals knew from the beginning that this was not going to work. It was perhaps initially a good idea for some of the students, but they like to express themselves with their clothing, and they do not like for everybody to look the same,” the principal said.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Mateja Šobak).

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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