The Sunday Mail
Schools open this Tuesday amid a continued dig-in by shops selling uniforms at exorbitant prices tantamount to charging in the United States dollar or its equivalent black market rate of bond notes or RTGS.
Most people buying complete sets of school uniforms for pupils starting ECD, Grade One and Form One have over the past three weeks raised concern over the sharp increases in the school clothes as they part with not less than $500.
A survey by The Sunday Mail in major shops yesterday showed that prices were pegged on a three tier model. Government has been trying to dissuade businesses from effecting such pricing regimes.
Before the price increase last year, a pair of school shoes was priced at $16 while a satchel was pegged at $11, with a shirt and short selling for $14, dress ($15), trousers ($20) blazer ($30), hat ($6), pair of socks ($3) and a tie $5.
Latest prices in school shops such as Enbee, Nargaji and Bays pegged a pair of shoes at between $60 and $110, while a pair of trousers cost $65, shirt ($50), blazer ($200), hat (18) pair of socks ($7) and a tie ($10)
Informal traders were selling a blazer at $120, jersey $30, trousers $35, tie $15, shirts $25, shorts $20, shoes between $40 and $104.
Some shoppers interviewed said a lasting solution to the school uniform pricing ‘madness’ could be an introduction of a universal set of school wear.
One parent said Government should explore the idea of introducing a standard uniform with a notable difference being on school badges or logos.
Another parent Mrs Muchaneta Chasara from Budiriro who was seen buying uniforms for her children starting form one and grade one said it was high time Government faced the reality that prices are now being pegged in US dollars.
“Government should intervene and recognise the values of the different currencies so that prices stabilise,” she said.
“The reality is that we are now in the United States dollar regime and Government must let the market regulate itself so that people holding the foreign currency begin to use it.
“There is no way a person will get into a shop and buy a product pegged at $10 for bond or RTGS and then pay in US dollars. It is unrealistic.”
It is also understood that some parents are opting to engage tailors who are also buying a metre of cloth for between $4 and $7 up from about $1,50 per metre.