SCHOOL UNIFORMS – WHEN YOU GO TO ROME DO AS THE ROMANS DO

10 Oct

Rules are rules. If you do not like them don’t go to that school. Simple!

Wearing uniform is about creating a structured uniformity in the institution. All schools require their students to be attired a specific way when they come to school. If these stipulations and guidelines are absent, then uniformity fails to exist. Hence the necessity of the rule. Otherwise, why would there be need for uniforms? School’s have standards and wearing the uniform at the school’s specification is a part of that standard. Did parents and students hear about this rule overnight; or the same day their children went to school? Negative. For most schools, this is clearly outlined in the student’s handbook and by accepting a position at the institution, they agreed to adhere to the rules and regulations of the particular institution. Why then, is there a sudden problem?

Most organizations have a dress code and there are some things that are deemed inappropriate and unacceptable. Employees do not have a choice but to comply with the regulations of the organization. Better yet, I am yet to see someone take to the media or the street in protest of these organizations’ stipulations. A school is no different. Students need to learn this lesson from early. Some things are just not appropriate for certain environments. When some students enter the school’s compound, and some have the required length, while others are way too short or tight, where is the uniformity that the institution intend to achieve? What kind of message will the school be sending? There can be no double standard. School is a place of learning; not a ‘catwalk’ to host walking fashion shows.

While it is true that the length of the uniform will not and cannot solve the challenges of our education system, it can certainly teach our students valuable lessons about discipline and the importance of obeying and respecting rules. If the society would support the school in this endeavour, then so much time would not be spent on this. Remember, one does not have to like something to respect it.

There have been comments regarding the acceptable ‘shortness’ of uniforms in other countries. This is quite irrelevant to the discussion. It is worthy to note that we are functioning in a culturally different education landscape from other countries; and while it is prudent to assess, evaluate and emulate best practices, administrators must be cautious in this adoption. Granting students the permission to wear short skirts/uniforms to school because it happens in other countries is clearly NOT best practice, and would be unwise to do same. .

I listened to a discussion on the matter, and the argument was posited that the concept of rules are rules is a mere excuse because youths push against rules. The fact that youths push against rules, is not a plausible reason for them not comply. Besides, it is for this very reason why they need to be taught the value of rules. Additionally, youths are not the only ones who push rules. No one likes rules. It is human nature to desire to doing things on your own, in your own time. Imagine the chaos is the world was this way. The world is not a free for all. it is governed by rules and regulations and children need to learn this lesson early. There is nothing that indicated that the longer the skirts/uniforms, the higher the probability of sexual assault reduction; or the problems with youths will be less; but it certainly leads to transformation. The uniforms too long, plus do not like it, equals run home early to get out of it.

Why complain about the enforcement of rule regarding long skirts and not complain about the rules for, punctuality; none, or the late submission of assignments? Those are rules too. Are the values of these rules different from that regarding the uniform? Regardless of the myriad of arguments that will be proffered about length of skirts, it is a necessary rule. The popular saying “when you go to Rome, do as the Romans do”. Like I said, if one does not like it, go somewhere else.

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