From next academic year, starting from September 10, 2019, the Ghana Education Service (GES) will introduce a new school uniform for public junior high school (JHS) students.
This has become necessary to inject a sense of self-esteem in pursuit of academic excellence among JHS students.
The GES also explains that the new school uniform policy is part of the sweeping educational reforms announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in February this year.
For us at the Daily Graphic, any move that is geared towards the improvement of teaching and learning outcomes must be in the right direction.
Undoubtedly, the new uniform in our view is to differentiate the pupils in the Primary School from those in the JHS and also enable the JHS students to get the feeling of transitioning into the senior high school.
This is a good start for the JHS students. Generally, the decision cannot be a bad one, particularly when it seeks to give an identity to those in the JHS and offer them a sense of belonging to a unique group differently from the basic school pupils.
The Daily Graphic is happy that the implementation will take three years before the current uniform is completely phased off.
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This, we believe, will not exert any financial pressure on both parents and students as they will have ample time to do the switch over.
We are sounding a caution, particularly to the management of the schools not to deny any JHS student the right of education simply because the child does not have the new uniform.
It will be a grave injustice to students and a defeat to the policy change if school administration flouts the rules of engagement.
For now, all efforts must be made to ensure that the new uniforms are available. Checks by the Daily Graphic at some markets in Accra revealed that the sale of the materials for the new uniform was not widespread even though it was found in a few shops.
The fabric dealers were of the view that enough education had not been done on the policy change by the GES.
But we believe it is not too late in the day to commence some public education on the new uniform and how and where it can be made available and accessible.
This is where the ingenuity of the local textile industry must come to play to take advantage of the opportunity and get involved in the whole procurement process of making the new uniform available to all who need it.
The Daily Graphic is aware that those in the local garment sector are blaming the government for opening the market for traders to flood it with foreign materials. They have even accused the government of not giving them the right of refusal before opening it up to the market.
Much as the garment sector may have genuine concerns, the question remains as to whether the local garment industry made any advances or declared its intention to enter the competition to produce and was not successful.
Surely, producing the fabric locally has huge economic potential for job creation, especially for the youth, and all those in the value chain of the production, distribution, sale and patronage.
The Daily Graphic would like to encourage a jaw-jaw approach to get the local manufacturers on board. Fortunately, the policy takes three years to be fully implemented and in our view, there is still room for the local manufacturers to take advantage of the benefits.
The Daily Graphic believes the importance, significance and potentially positive impact of the new uniforms should not be overshadowed by debates and accusations.
All hands must be on deck to make the policy change functional and real.