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School education has adopted the corporate modal and they see money making in each and every way possible. As parents, we have to buy books, uniform and shoes from the school. The topic I want to discuss is, many schools have made it mandatory to buy Reebok or Nike shoes, especially international schools.
Most of International schools have some affiliation with the foreign education society to brand themselves and charge exorbitantly. Having lived abroad I want to say most of the western education society at the school level doesn’t have an expensive fee structure, or uniforms leave alone school shoes. Unfortunately my children’s school has a similar rule to buy Reebok shoes. I bought shoes for my kids that cost Rs.2200 each pair & I have seen a similar pair in BATA (also international company but with manufacturing capacity in India with competitive local prices) for Rs.500. I had a small conversation with store manager of BATA:
Me: Don’t you market your shoes to sell your school shoes as Reebok & Nike does.
Manager: We do
Me: Then why have many schools made it mandatory to buy other International brands.
Manager: You know they get a cut (commission)
Me: You don’t give
Manager: We also give, but you calculate the ‘X’ commission on Rs.500 & Rs.2200 & multiply it with number of students.
This conversation really made me think, International schools charge for affiliation with foreign societies where the education is free (most of the developed nations) & to uplift the “brand” of our school & make extra money our schools come up with such rules.
If you are an educationist then I want to know:
1. Is there a written rule to buy International branded shoes?
2. How will Indian companies survive given the below calculation (hypothetical figures)?
· 10 states with 50 International schools per state
· 500 students per International school
A=500x50x10= 2,50,000 pairs
F=Foreign brands like Reebok/Nike at Rs.2000/per pair (10% discount)
Total Cost C=AxF= INR 50 Cr
I=Indian manufacturer like BATA (Indian subsidiary)= 500 (maximum price)
Total Cost C=A x I=Rs.12.5 Cr
Ø At least 10 world class schools in the rural area of India can be set up with excess money we spend on shoes.
3. Given the fact, many top engineers & doctors working globally are educated in Indian Institutes Why don’t the Indian Education Societies give affiliation to institutions in developing nations rather than getting affiliation; are we promoting our schools/universities at the Education fairs worldwide?
4. In India, poor citizens get free education in government schools but honest tax payers don’t have any such option except for claiming tax exemption towards schools fees. For good education we have to follow such rules laid by the school bodies where parents are exploited in various categories like Building fund, Annual day fees etc.
The current government is branding & promoting "Make in India" whereas governing bodies ignore this aspect. Educational governing bodies should understand that many small industries are supported by one such industry, employment & revenue from such companies will help to build a strong nation. Also, children at young age will become brand conscious & may not compromise on anything locally made.
I have a sincere request:
If you are a parent and reading this article, I want you to respond with the following details in comments
Name of the school:
Shoes: Mandatory to buy International brand shoe(Y/N)
Next time when you attend the PTM & ask them for written consent about the rule; I am sure they will not give in writing.
As a member of CII (YI) I want to take up this issue at the national level with all your feedback & I am also registered with HSPA (Hyderabad Schools Parents' Association) to discuss this issue. I have given a written request to the school management where my children are studying & I am positive that management with surely take the decision in this regard where couple of Indian brands will be added as an option & it will be left to parents discretion which brand to buy.
To read Cambridge response Click here
I am not against International brands but I want to say it is too much to spend for a growing feet that too when we have equally competitive options available for lesser price, International brands should be competitive with Indian made shoe’s price & quality.