alt
Posted : 2016-02-22 16:58
Updated : 2016-02-22 21:27

Gaeseong shutdown causes school uniform shortage

By Lee Kyung-min

Tens of thousands of secondary school students may not be able to wear school uniforms for the upcoming semester, as suppliers based in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex (GIC) are unable to deliver the goods in time after the complex was shut down due to strained inter-Korean relations.

Those students may have to wait for up to two more months to buy new uniforms, while the new semester begins on March 2.

A day after South Korea announced the shutdown of the inter-Korean industrial park on Feb. 10, North Korea expelled all South Korean workers from the complex.

According to Mansun, a uniform subcontractor to Hyungji Elite, the largest school uniform manufacturer here, more than 80,000 sets of uniforms were left behind in its factory in Gaeseong.

"When we were forced out, we were not allowed to take our products with us," an official from Mansun said. "Not only us but three other subcontractors for school uniform manufacturers were prevented from bringing the products, causing the uniform supply shortage."

Currently, their factories here are operating round the clock to meet the demand at the earliest possible date, he said.

"For uniform manufacturers, February is the busiest time of the year, a month before students go back to school. We are doing our best to help mitigate students' and parents' inconvenience," he said.

Hyungji Elite provides uniforms to 679 schools nationwide, accounting for 16 percent of the total.

Parents expressed frustration as the soured inter-Korean relations are affecting their children's school life.

"Children are meant to start the new semester with brand new clothes and new sprit. This nonsense is negatively affecting children," one parent said.

In response, the Ministry of Education recommended schools allow students to dress casually until they are able to buy the full uniform set.

"We requested schools to submit a report if students have to come to school not properly dressed due to the GIC shutdown," a ministry official said.

"Until students are able to do so, we recommend that schools allow a casual dress code," the official said. "We have been collecting opinions and reports from schools since last Friday, and we will help minimize confusion."

The ministry is considering holding a campaign to encourage students to wear secondhand uniforms from their seniors who have outgrown them or graduated.

  • 1. [PHOTO] Toxic toothpaste scandal: images help foreigners ID brands
  • 2. 'Train to Busan' takes Don Lee to Hollywood
  • 3. Son Heung-min scores to secure Tottenham's League win
  • 4. Is this the next 'Gangnam Style'? (VIDEO)
  • 5. N. Korea claims to have 'completed' nuclear program
  • 6. Korea fourth-largest foreign provider of jobs for US
  • 7. Foreign firms remain blinded by anti-graft law
  • 8. A wheel surprise! Dutch PM presents 220 bicycles to Seoul
  • 9. [Provincial News] Korea's largest multicultural festival kicks off in Changwon
  • 10. It's official! Seoul's 10 must-visit sites