Remember being made to stand on a sheet of plain paper with your foot firm on the ground to trace its outline? Many a time this exercise to get your right shoe/slipper size might have not really helped and you would find your new shoes far from that perfect fit.

Soon, elementary and middle school teachers of government schools will be on a similar job, but with a small difference. To get the exact fitting, they will adopt the ‘footprint method'.

As part of the State government's plans to provide free footwear to students of classes I to X from the coming academic year, 150 teachers and Block Resource Teacher Educators (BRTEs) from various districts recently underwent training on how to measure students' feet size. The four-day training was offered by the Central Footwear Training Institute.

In this method, the foot is dipped in ink and the footprint is traced on a blank sheet of paper. “For the exact quantity and fitting, you need to adopt this process as this is much more accurate than tracing just the outline on a paper,” says Y.V.R. Choudhary, assistant director, CFTI, who conducted the workshop for teachers.

The length and grid fittings are important to design a shoe or sandal. According to Mr. Choudhary, based on the different sample sizes collected from a class, they would zero in on the size for a particular age group. But this could still vary from student to student.

When compared to other methods such as tracing the size by putting foot on Plaster of Paris or measuring tool, Mr. Choudhary says the footprint method is time consuming but gives better accuracy.

Officials in the Directorate of Elementary Education say the participants were given theoretical and practical training. They will soon go to schools to teach headmasters what they learnt.

The tender notice issued by the Directorate of Elementary Education states that the State proposes to purchase 81 lakh pairs of sandals for students of classes I to X, studying in government and aided schools. The budget for this is estimated to be about Rs. 94.76 crore. The size and quality specification will be finalised by the expert committee comprising Khadi Board, Central Footwear Training Research Institute and Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology.

Keywords: footprint method

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