Centered on Civil Liberties & Political Issues, Human Development & Socioeconomic Matters
Parents, schoolteachers and educationists are divided on the issue of school uniform. Actually, the differences of opinion are big among parents and school administrations of which they are split into two debating camps: opponents and supporters. While one camp favors and commends wearing school uniforms, the other one totally opposes it.
This controversy over whether students should wear costumes or not has imposed its shadows over private and public school systems alike. However, the real concern should be over whether enforcing school dress-code has unfavorable effects on our children or not.
Proponents of school uniforms argue that wearing school uniforms create a sense of school spirit, which in turn will lead to scholastic pride and thus to academic achievements. They also claim that wearing costumes allow school the schoolteachers and staff to identify students from intruders during their presence at school and on their way to and from school. They assert that school costumes make students behave better during their unescorted passage to school.
However, opponents of school dress codes counter argue that uniforms make students easily identifiable not only to teachers and security guards, but to common aggressors as well. They also claim that there is no evidence that proves that the en route social behavior of students is improved or not, seeing that trouble-making students tend to take off their costumes as they leave their schools.
Actually, many social critics and scientific researchers, like Kerry Rockquemore and David Brunsma, argue that school uniforms have no positive effect on behavioral problems or attendance of students. Quite the reverse, they established that there are negative effects on academic achievement when students are forced to wear costumes since they feel oppressed.
Promoters of school uniforms believe that wearing of uniforms promotes a sense of community, which helps students focus on their schoolwork, not on their social standing. They also claim that wearing of uniforms acts as social levelers, as it removes peer pressure on the less prosperous to own stylish and classy cloth since everyone is wearing the same clothes. For them, costumes help to foster feelings of equality among less rich students because rich teens are inclined to wear the latest and most costly fashions, while non-rich students may feel jealous and frustrated thereof.
Yet, without a valid proof to support this claim, many families persuasively argue that adopting uniforms does not blur economic status. Considering that wealthier students could wear accessories and jewelry, such as expensive watches and mobile phones; for example, or purchase several new uniforms to reduce the look of wear and tear caused from over wearing of one or two costumes.
In all probability, the philosophy of having a social leveler is rather inconsistent, since social gaps and societal sorting will always exist. Actually, it is far easier and better for individuals to adapt to these social disparities at a younger age, instead of facing it afterward.
The most critical argument against uniforms is that uniforms suppress student’s individuality and personal liberty, as educators may not deal with students as individuals, but as identical persons, which may hinder student’s creative abilities and limit their personal choices and preferences.
In a diversified society, like in the Middle East, devout parents and students consider that costumes are indecent and impractical. Many girls, for example, complain about being forced to wear clothes that do not fit with their personal needs or conservative social requirements, such as skirts and shirts; whereas they consider that wearing pants or maxi outfits are more convenient and decent for them.
In contrast to similar conservative inclinations, most reports indicate that teenagers, females and males alike, who are forced to wear school costumes, usually peel it off while on their way to and from school. This actuality contradicts the idea that school uniform eliminates the impulse for fashionable cloth and cuts spending on clothing. However, middle and working class families accusingly argue that school organizations that require particular uniformity monopolize the provision of uniforms to make extra profits, disregarding the added pecuniary burden on these families.
At its best, wearing school uniform is a pointless procedure that does not create a real sense of equality among students nor restrict their social behavior outside of school. After all, wearing of school uniform will not improve children’s ability to learn or help in the progress of schools. Since academic achievements and thus school progress largely depends on the conscience, hard work, and professionalism of the teaching communities.
Evidently, good schooling should not limit personal choices and individuality of our youngsters just to promote a false picture of equality and order. Instead, besides objective teaching, schools should direct their efforts to nurture and promote open-minded traits so that these countries can have forward-thinking generations.
In due time, the inevitable precondition for educational progress is to go through an overhauling process of the current schooling system and supervision methods so that it comprises contemporary curriculums and liberal upbringing concepts of which students and schools alike become more proficient to cope with the incoming future.