Following an incident involving a crowd gathering outside a uniform shop in Ang Mo Kio, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Tuesday (29 December) that students will be given more time in the first few weeks of January next year to purchase their school uniforms.
“MOE and schools understand the challenges faced by parents and vendors,” the Ministry told The Straits Times, noting that the schools will make arrangements for students who are unable to buy their uniforms in time before the school term starts.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MOE said the schools were advised to make adjustments to their year-end school activities to safeguard the health of the school community.
For example, the schools will be asked to work with vendors to allow parents to buy their children’s uniforms and books online as well as to provide home deliveries.
It also said that parents could be allowed to make appointments with vendor to buy uniforms in schools or at the vendors’ physical stores.
Not only this, the students who are unable to buy school uniforms in time are allowed to report in school in their physical education attire or primary school uniforms, said MOE.
“Schools, which reopen from next Monday, will work closely with their vendors to ensure that students can buy their uniforms as soon as possible, and facilitate the sale of uniforms in school,” The Straits Times reported MOE as saying.
The response from MOE came in the wake of the report by The Straits Times that crowds of parents were seen outside of Jeep Sing Fashion store to purchase school uniforms for their children.
Police were there to disperse the crowd, urging the parents to observe safe distancing by asking them to stand further apart or encouraging some parents to leave.
It was noted that parents have to take a queue number ticket prior to entering Jeep Sing Fashion store to buy the school uniforms.
Many parents and their children had even arrived two hours earlier before the store opened for a queue ticket.
However, some parents told reporters that even though they have waited in line for hours since morning, they also could not get the queue ticket and were told to return another day due to the size of the crowd.
Uniform supplier apologises for the delay in orders and long queue
In response to the large crowds, Jeep Sing Fashion said in its Facebook page on Tuesday that they apologised for the delay in terms of orders and queues.
It explained that they are “experiencing a massive surge in demand for our uniforms in terms of physical and e-commerce orders” due to COVID-19.
“We fully understand the frustration and urgency of getting the uniform quickly for your child.
“But, do rest assured that we are trying our utmost best to fulfil your orders as soon as possible and have liaised with the logistic company to swiftly process the delivery of your uniform items,” Jeep Sing Fashion wrote on its post.
Penning their comments on the Facebook page of The Straits Times, many netizens were vexed by the poor management and planning between MOE, schools and uniform suppliers, which led to the crowded situation in front of the uniform shop.
Many netizens complained that they have to make multiple trips to the uniform shop due to the poor management of the uniform supplier, such as insufficient stock, late delivery, or receiving wrong items or uniform size.
They hoped that the authorities can look into this issue, suggesting them to provide more supplier options as large orders are overwhelming for only one supplier to handle.
Some netizens questioned why only one vendor was available to supply the school uniform to one school, adding that the Government should “decentralise the school uniform purchase”.
Several netizens also pointed out that the MOE should properly coordinate and plan the release of results, time slot allocation and rules relating to the school uniforms and textbooks distribution.
To prevent crowds, a few netizens also suggested that the store should have floor markings as a guide for people to queue in an orderly manner.