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South Africa’s Competition Commission on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the four School governing body associations to ensure that there is no unreasonable increase in school uniforms and other learning related materials.

The Competition Commission said the MoU will encourage schools to make formal commitments through their school policies to practice pro-competitive procurement while the school governing bodies will help ensure that learners are having access to uniforms.

“Each student needs access to the basic tools of trade to participate fully, and in a dignified manner, in their learning journey. An important ‘tool of learning’ is the uniform that each student is expected to wear, which contributes to social cohesion, inclusion, school identity, and a sense of belonging that we hope to foster in all of our schools,” said Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele during the signing ceremony.

“However, unaffordable, and overly restrictive rules related to school uniforms can easily become an unintended vehicle for exclusions,”he said.

He said some schools and uniform suppliers were in cohort to make uniforms and other related materials unnecessarily expensive and unaffordable for many South Africans. The Department of Basic Education has provided guidance on best practices relating to all procurement undertaken by schools. Enditem

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