Feb 28, 2012

Pros and Cons of Imposing School Uniforms.

By Sania Bilwani

A recent article in The Reader’s Digest states that uniforms are a way of imposing discipline and equality in schools. But to what extent is that true? Indeed, some people argue in favour of uniforms but it is also worth noting that uniforms may strip people of their individuality and confidence.

Supporters of uniform claim that it sets equal standard for every pupil. There are some people who may not be able to afford lavish clothes or accessory to express themselves. In that situation,students who are less fortunate than others may find themselves stand out. In some cases, its is argued, they may also be shunned and even
bullied for they are deemed 'different'. This is a direct blow to student's confidence and self esteem.

Since different schools have different uniforms, it is also thought that each school uniform represents its own school. Pupils of the same school may therefore feel united. This is illustrated in sport's competition. This is where students from a variety of schools support their own school mates and demonstrate their loyalty to the school. Thus, uniforms raises school spirits and ensures that all students unite as one when faced with competition.

Another argument that favours the imposition of uniforms stresses how they may become a source of discipline. The administration of the school is able to exert control over their students. They are expected to dress in a certain way and it trains them for the future. While wearing the school uniform, they are expected to behave well and uphold their school's honour for any misconduct reflects badly on the school. This point may further be highlighted through an example of the military where uniforms and thus discipline is strictly enforced.

On the other hand, opponents of the argument insist on the fact that other institutions like prisons, hospitals, and mental intuitions also have uniforms. Not only does this create feelings of claustrophobia and a sense of feeling 'trapped', but also puts forward an unfavourable impression. From my own personal experience, I can
provide an example of when I was send to a local community centre to spend some time with orphans. Instead of opening up to us, these children were frightened of us and thought us to be from a hospital because of the uniforms we wore.

Furthermore, another argument emphasises how students are unable to express themselves. They may start thinking they are 'just another face in the crowd', for they are forced to dress alike. This may strip them of their own self esteem. While other people argue that uniforms impose equality and strengthen the school spirit it is actually thought that too much control may also start a rebellion. If students are unable to express themselves they may rebel in any other way they can. For example, students bringing fancy hand bags to schools that
clash with the dull colour of the uniforms.

Expensive shoes and numerous accessories are also example of how students may try to express themselves instead. In addition, students may vent their frustrations by trying to ensure that their school's honour is in fact not upheld by smoking outside of school in their uniforms. This may go unnoticed by the school administration but the fact remains that it actually does not impose discipline as was originally thought by the school.

All these arguments highlight the pros and cons of imposing school uniforms on hapless students. While some may think uniforms are a way of enforcing equality and discipline, on the other hand, I personally believe that it may become a source of rebellion and discomfort for the students and should therefore not be enforced.


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