Antonina Tsitsulina: who needs school uniform standard?
On the eve of the coming new school year, the professional community is actively discussing the introduction of the national standard for school uniform, proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to be introduced in 2020. The Ministry plans to develop a standard for the fabric for school uniforms, and for the uniform itself. Antonina Tsitsulina, the President of the Association of the Children's Products Industry and the Chairman of the Toys and Products for Children of the Technical Committee for Standardisation, expressed her expert opinion:
We have been discussing the issue of the school uniform standard for years. Where does it come from? Let us start from twell-known facts:
1. We have a lot of good quality, safe, functional, and affordable clothes for children. Buy with confidence, within your budget, and wear with pleasure!
All children's clothing must pass compliance test according to the requirements of the technical regulations and be safe for children. This document describes all the requirements.
Amendments and clarifications are introduced to the document. Just recently, new statements have been introduced regarding children's sportswear. Therefore, if there are tasks on the clothes for schoolchildren then you need to work first with this document.
2. GOST: this is the standard of voluntary use for the manufacturers. If you want, you use it, and if you do not want to, you continue to follow the technical regulations (but this is mandatory already!).
If you want to apply GOST and report that the products are manufactured based on GOST, you will need to undergo an additional check, as well as to pay fines in case of GOST violation (the fine amount starts from 500 thousand rubles!). In order to make the standard an effective marketing tool, you need the market to believe the criteria is trustworthy, to receive the market recognition, to get clear quality markers and guarantees that this will increase sales.
3. There is an option that GOST will be made mandatory. Nevertheless, even at the stage of discussion, it becomes clear that there will be a conflict among the existing requirements, for example, for clothes for newborns.
Is it correct to understand that the clothes, during those 14 hours while the child is at home, or out for a walk, or on a sports ground, or sleeping in bed can be ordinary and considered safe, but when a child crosses the border of school territory, for some reason, the children’s clothes should be changed to the workwear format?
Why, is it so dangerous at our schools? What kind of protection does the school clothes have to provide to satisfy special requirements?
4. GOST can be made mandatory for the state procurement. This is interesting, is it planned to deliver school uniforms free of charge? Let us discuss the content of the school uniform set.
I am quite positive about the marketing tools, especially in terms of increasing reputation capital. The children’s products require a special safety concern, and the special functional properties of the product for children are applied at the initial stage of the design process.
However, why this initiative is so intuitively negative? It is so because this is an artificially projected solution for a non-issue.
There are lots of cheap and suspicious clothes? Let us analyse the family budget first. Where there is demand, there is supply. You can stimulate the demand with material support measures and control the purchase that you support.
There are lots of unsafe clothes? You can enforce the regulatory control. Although, you have to analyse whether our industry can afford it. If the breathability is so important, then maybe we have to revise the regulations for a number of new synthetic fabrics?
The elaboration of a standard always means coordination of platforms based on argumentation. The development is only one step, and implementation is ten steps. This is a separate task.
It is the customer who actually pays for the new regulations, therefore, the affordability of the goods for children is of the same importance as the safety.
Over the summer, our children have had some rest, they have become stronger, and they have grown up. Our industry and trade with great pleasure is entering the pre-school season and is waiting for its customers. I calmly and responsibly recommend paying attention to the domestic manufacturers of clothes, shoes, and school products, who offer the widest product range with a flexible pricing system and a responsible attitude to the safety of the goods for our children.