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29/07/2023| By
Nirosh Nirosh Rajapakse

About 4.5 million schoolchildren in Sri Lanka receive free school uniforms from the government at the beginning of each school year. A set of uniforms is provided free of charge to all students on the island from first to thirteenth grade dividing into three groups; Junior (grade 1-5), Intermediate (grade 6-9), and Senior (grades 10-13). These uniforms are in different sizes for both sexes, therefore this project being implemented annually by the government. The data related to the current program for this study was obtained primarily through the Ministry of Education, Department of census and statistics – Sri Lanka, as well as mass media. The information related to the proposed methodology was developed based on the primary data obtained through garment factories. Also, in order to further confirm the data of the proposed method, some uniforms were taken, the necessary specification sheets, pattern boards, and mini markers were created manually and calculated. The statistics of students obtained from the year 2017, this research was finally conducted in the year 2020. It was found that many socio-economic problems and political challenges have been created nationwide due to the present practice. These problems include the waste of resources, the difficulties for some parents in making ready-made uniforms from fabric, and political commitments that worsen the situation (such as giving out two free uniforms instead of one). Based on the present study's results, it is clear that the current approach for ensuring that all fabrics are distributed fairly is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive. But if uniforms were mass-produced in factories, they would be more efficient and costeffective, resulting in greater societal benefits. Among the social and economic benefits that can be experienced through the approach that refers to are reducing fabric waste, generating new job opportunities, saving foreign exchange in the country, and strengthening the local currency versus foreign currencies. Instead of providing uniform fabric, the amount of fabric that can be saved by producing in factories and providing only one set of uniforms to all the students on the island exceeds 35 lakh (3,500,000) meters. It is 1,177,000 meters of fabric for shirts, 1,580,000 meters for gowns, 360,000 meters for shorts and 395,000 for trousers for all three categories in mass production of uniforms, the actual benefits are two to three times more than the benefits of one set of uniforms because the output is not limited to one set of uniforms, and the entire market demand can be targeted for production. In conclusion, the results indicate that the government might save money by providing students with sewn school uniforms rather than the uniform cloth currently offered. Apart from the obvious benefits of giving students pre-made uniforms rather than having them sew their own, the recommended approach can generate economic growth, improve the nation's financial standing, and benefit the public.

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Submitted by29 Jul 2023
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Nirosh Rajapakse
Sri Lanka Institute of Textile and Apparel
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