Private colleges and higher secondary schools have continued to take commission from tailors stitching uniform even this year. Students are always forced to get their uniform from the tailors that are contracted at a certain rate.
Tailors have to pay commission of Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 annually to a college that takes 100 new students depending on standard. Big colleges can take up to 1,000 new students and hire tailors receiving up to Rs 1 million in commission. Over 30,000 students study in the 11th grade in Kathmandu Valley alone, according to the Higher Secondary education Board (HSEB).
Shyam Sharma, who has been running a tailoring center in Kalimati for six years, says commission has to be paid in advance to colleges to get to stitch uniform for new students. “We have to pay advance commission as we do not get work if we do not pay. I had signed for a college of Kalanki but the contract was revoked at the last hour as I could not increase commission,” he adds. He claims that new colleges manage promotional expenses from commission received from dress and reveals that uniform will become cheaper by up to Rs 1,000-1,500 per student without paying commission. He says many colleges even ask for separate uniform for the 11th and 12th grades for commission. Students have to buy uniform from the designated tailors hired by colleges. Students have to pay Rs 3,500-5,000 for a set of uniform including suit and they have to buy at least two sets. Students cannot stitch uniform at other places. There are just over 600 tailors to stitch uniform for around 1,000 private colleges across the country. Private colleges receive over Rs 30 million in commission from uniform alone every year during admission for 11th grade.
Former President of Private and Boarding School’s Organization, Nepal (PABSON) and Constituent Assembly (CA) member Baburam Pokharel expresses ignorance about commission from uniform. “If anybody is taking commission, it is illegal. We are not doing so,” he says.
Stakeholders rue that voices raised against exploitation by private colleges have fallen to deaf ears. “A student becomes a commodity immediately after reaching an educational institution. Commission from uniform is an example of that,” immediate past president of the Guardian’s Association of Nepal Suprabhat Bhandari says.
Students have to stitch two shirts, one pair of trousers and a coat in single set, and two shirts and two pairs of trousers and a coat in double set.