As school season begins, parents have been raising concerns over the long-used system to obtain uniforms in Malta, with some calling it a “monopoly of supply”.
With a handful of singular shops oftentimes the only place to get uniforms for specific schools, parents must scramble to try and get their hands on blazers, trousers, and skirts in time for the scholastic opening, often left waiting in lines for hours without social distancing in a tense atmosphere.
“It is completely ridiculous that at times there are 100 plus people all smashed together waiting outside for uniforms,” one parent who spoke to Lovin Malta said after trying to obtain uniforms.
“This situation creates constant fights, cars crashing because the road is too tight for barely two cars passing by each other and a complete nightmare for neighbours,” the parent continued.
She said she contacted the local council to report the situation but did not receive a response, and when she called 111 she was told to send an email since the amount of people didn’t add up to 500.
And it’s not just her, with multiple parents complaining about this situation online, for years.
One parent complained about having to book leave for multiple days of work to get his child a uniform, with the opening date of schools ever looming closer, only adding to the pressure.
“You go to get your children’s school uniform (state school) from the college supplier and you get told that skirts, trousers, and blazers are not available and that one has to phone (every week) to check when they will be (by the way it’s always engaged). And no, it’s not the government’s fault but the inefficiency of certain private companies who do not prepare in advance,” one parent had said of the exact same situation some years back.
Another parent had a similar experience earlier this year.
One father who spoke to Lovin Malta complained about the long waiting hours his pregnant wife was forced to endure, just to be told to return another day.
“She spent two hours waiting in the sun, with no social distancing at all, and we still need to go back another time,” he told Lovin Malta.
With certain shops repeatedly given the sole rights to supply uniforms for entire colleges, and no changes planned on the horizon, parents may well need to deal with this scenario next year… and the year after that as well.