With the school year starting this week, many parents and guardians are scrambling to get the uniforms and stationery required by schools. A quick drive to a number of school uniform and stationery stores in Windhoek showed anxious parents and children crowding all retailers, with some scenes that can only be described as complete chaos as parents rushed to get the exact items their children need.
While questioning why parents always wait for the last minute to do back-to-school shopping, one retail manager suggested that more manufacturing licences are needed to avoid the chaos and hefty prices parents need to pay to secure uniforms. “There are not enough manufacturers of school uniforms in this country. If we have more manufacturers then we could open more retail outlets and prices would come down for the parents,” said Ibrahim Patel, manager of Boundary Wholesalers in Windhoek’s Southern Industrial Area.
One of the parents at Boundary agreed with the sentiment of introducing more school uniform manufacturers. George Masilo said more manufacturers would translate into increased benefits for local consumers. “Parents flock to these stores at the last minute because of poor planning and because there are not enough uniform suppliers in the country. If there were more manufacturers then the prices would come down,” said Masilo.
Another parent, Simon Namugongo, attributed the last-minute rush to two factors, namely children only just returning from holidays and a lack of financial planning. “Money is also a factor because many people use up much money in December and they are not always financially prepared for the back-to-school rush,” said Namugongo.
Lauren Shimbundu, who was also at Boundary Wholesalers yesterday to pick up one or two last-minute items, said the chaos ensues every year mostly due to poor planning. “Parents like to wait for the last minute. If most parents completed their back-to-school shopping during December then this chaos you see behind me could be avoided,” said Shimbundu.
As far as New Era could establish there is only one school uniform manufacturer in the country. Dinapama Manufacturing and Supplies in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area makes uniforms for a limited number of schools in the country but a large-scale manufacturer catering to all schools has not yet been established.