Published: 01st June 2019
Dress code debate: Here's why students should or should not wear uniforms in PU colleges
The Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) has said that it will initiate action against those colleges that forced their students to wear uniforms
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English dramatic poet in Hamlet
The key line here is, "For apparel oft proclaims the man". Here, as elsewhere, man embraces the woman. But, when does one become a man? This question is relevant in the context of a recent controversy — that PU students be exempted from wearing uniforms while inside the campus. But first, here are the facts which provoked this topic as reported by the media:
Pre-University (PU) students need not wear uniforms. The Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) has said that it will initiate action against those colleges that forced their students to wear uniforms. Although this is not the first time that the department has issued this rule, the DPUE has said that parents should complain if colleges insist that students wear uniforms. C Shikha, Director, DPUE, has said that the rule is part of the admission guidelines given to PU colleges. According to him, uniforms have been banned as many colleges have been found to be collecting money for uniforms.
The rule has put many colleges in a fix. While some have had uniforms for several years now, others had only introduced them recently. The principal of a college which made uniforms compulsory last year said, “We wanted to bring discipline, decorum and parity in the college, particularly in the classroom”. The move has received mixed responses from parents and students.
Shakespeare said ‘apparel oft proclaims the man’. This was the advice given by Polonius to his son Laertes before he leaves England for France. Polonius implied that people made judgments about others based upon the clothes they wore. The word ‘man’ is critical here. Can a PU student be called ‘Man’ or ‘Woman’, who, as noted above, embraces woman, for that matter? PU students should act their age and wait till they go to college before flaunting their designer clothing. Having said this, PU colleges should not make uniforms a money-making business. Finally, the rich, complaining types are alone heard. The poor do not voice their views. Here, the consensus of parents and even students can be ascertained through a secret voting exercise wherein the majority should decide the outcome and subsequent actions.