The Competition Commission is urging schools in South Africa to adhere to guidelines aimed at curbing anti-competitive behaviour at school companies, particularly stressing the importance of making school uniforms reasonable and affordable for all pupils.

Uniforms, according to the Commission’s guidelines, should be as generic as possible, such that they are obtainable from more suppliers, and exclusive elements of uniforms should be limited to those regarded as necessary by the school, such as school badges.

The commission is also calling for a competitive bidding process to be followed when schools choose their uniform suppliers, and for schools to appoint more than one supplier in order to give parents more options.

With the authority to investigate, control and evaluate competition-restricting business practices in order to achieve equity and efficiency in the economy, the Competition Commission concluded its investigation into anti-competitive behaviour at schools early last year.

The probe established that a number of schools still had exclusive contracts with single suppliers. These contracts did not go through a competitive and transparent bidding process.

Stakeholders the Commission engaged included private schools, suppliers, governing bodies, and the government. All agreed on the implementation of school uniform guidelines issued by the government. 

It signed an MOU with FEDSAS, a federation of school governing bodies aimed at educating and encouraging schools to comply with these guidelines.

The commission says that schools should not make it difficult for students to receive an education by making their uniforms unaffordable.

 

Picture: Facebook/ Toppers Uniforms CC

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