KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Teachers and parents supported today the government’s move to switch from white school shoes to black ones.
Speaking to Malay Mail, National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Kamarozaman Abdul Razak said that there are some schools that are already using black shoes, particularly in Form Six and boarding schools.
“There will be many positive impacts, among them, parents will no longer have to purchase cleaning items for the shoes (kapur kasut). Teachers no longer need to enforce discipline on shoe cleanliness.
“This might also curb a little truancy as there are students who refuse to go to school because they have dirty shoes,” said Kamarozaman.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik said earlier today that students will be asked to wear black shoes to school from next year onwards, noting that white shoes get dirty easily.
Parents Action Group for Education (Page) honorary secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra pointed out that generally, many students already own a pair of black shoes due to their co-curricular activities.
She said Maszlee’s proposal, which will come into effect next year, was in line with what many schools and students were already doing.
“It is a good idea when you think about cleanliness, but some kids already have black shoes because they use it for co-curriculum. The only thing is the affordability. There’s no price cap on white shoes, so there shouldn’t be a price control for black shoes.
“But this can make white shoes go out of business,” said Tunku Munawirah with an amused chuckle.
Both Tunku Munawirah and Kamarozaman were slightly concerned about affordability and hoped that shoe companies will not take advantage of the situation to jack up prices once the ruling comes into effect.
They believed it would be prudent for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to allow parents a grace period to make the switch from white shoes to black ones.
Kamarozaman also added that students should be given the freedom to choose whether they want to wear black leather shoes or black canvas shoes, since both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
“I think leather shoes are more durable but they require more maintenance, and therefore, are costlier. Canvas shoes are cheaper but might not last as long. The ministry guidelines on the shoes should give some freedom of choice to the students,” he said.