Whether or not they should be upheld, uniforms for academic institutions have long become a subject of controversy. Although the introduction of these dress codes in schools and colleges has its advantages, there are also negative implications. Getting uniforms for learners is to some extent a double-edged sword due to both beneficial and detrimental effects. Maintaining order and reverence for authority within the institutions is the most significant gain of uniforms. They develop a feeling of equivalence and justness for all students (Deane, 2015). In these circumstances, learners do not have to think much about their clothes, appearance, or economic status. Thus, it is difficult for them to discern such factors once they are in the same dress code, and therefore, they can concentrate solely on their academic success.
Consequently, the above scenario creates less group pressure and leads to better outcomes and grades in the academic period. Likewise, uniforms train students for potential professional environments since they are more likely to keep a particular outfit in their future workplaces. Uniforms often give rise to a sense of social differences, since everyone is similar, and nobody can be marked as belonging to a different category. Also, it has been stated that institutions with rigid standardized rules have fewer instances of sexual assault, both verbal and physical (Wendell, 2002). Equally, schools with dressing codes have been reported to have fewer cases of harassment. The idea of uniforms is popular with parents and teachers respectively. They firmly believe that these outfits preserve the academic institution’s elegance, maintain good discipline, and build a feeling of connection and prestige for their educational establishments (Wendell, 2002). Thus, those factors may not have been as influential as without special garments.
Nevertheless, the learners are not generally in favor of uniforms. Their displeasure with this clothing derives mainly from the perception that the unified garments compromise the right to personality and eliminate the student’s sense of individuality. Liberty to freely express oneself, dress as one desires, and determine one’s individuality is a fundamental human right that cannot be dismissed. The implementation of uniforms in learning facilities denies students these fundamental rights. The outfits have also been documented to generate discomfort among this group, as clothes comfortableness is not regarded as a top preference. Students are much more relaxed with the clothing they would usually wear outside schools and classrooms.
Moreover, uniforms do not accommodate the sentiments of specific ethnicities and religions. For instance, Sikh students, who may choose to wear turbans because of their cultural and religious values but may not do so because of breaching the uniform rules. Thus, this could be viewed as discriminatory practice for this ethnic community. Similarly, academic bills could rise further with the addition of uniform fees, along with higher private tuition and book costs (Wendell, 2002). Whether to enforce these standardized attires or not, the potential solution can lie in the middle ground.
Therefore, educational institutions may make uniforms compulsory, but students should be permitted to wear accessories such as caps, wristbands, chains, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, or religiously significant clothing. Furthermore, learners should also be encouraged to design their school outfits according to their preferences while keeping the necessary standard clothing (Deane, 2015). Incidentally, this would provide a sense of homogeneity as needed by the academic leadership while at the same time upholding a basic right of expression for students, which cannot be ignored.
Deane, S. (2015). Dressing diversity: Politics of difference and the case of school uniforms. Philosophical Studies in Education, 46, 111-120. Web.
Wendell, A. (2002). School dress codes and uniform policies. Eric. Web.