Should there be school uniform?

This has been discussed, debated and declaimed over the past years in many countries, mainly from two sides–yes and no. Although many countries have no school uniform, South Africa, just as many other British colonies, has (in general) school uniforms for both private and public schools. Now, one might argue that school uniform is nfluenced
by the past–the same past that we are trying to leave where it belongs but some things from the past have had impact

on the nation as it is. . . and one of them is the famous school uniform. The importance of education as a developing country is undoubtable and Gwede Mantashe could’ve not said it better when he said “education must be Uniforlonia

uniform

 

a priority. When you disrupt education, you are not threatening life and death but you are disrupting the future prospects of the country “. Sure, European countries – that were never British colonies – don’t wear school uniform.
Let us take Denmark for instance. They can literally go to school in flip flops and shorts; basically any clothing of

their choice. Although it is a small country ,we cannot compare South Africa Denmark as Denmark is primarily composed of a population of

one ethnic group, whereas South Africa is the ” rainbow nation”. As the rainbow nation, we have different ethnic

groups thus we have a huge problem of racial issues that are somehow caused by the level of education and past issues like apartheid. Since the end of apartheid the aim was to bridge the differences that caused harm to the nation. Uniform in its own context is special, showing that the wearer is a member of a certain organization, school ,etc. To
South Africa it is more than that because it symbolizes the movement of the nation where the country fights against

the issues of the past and enables all children from this diverse nation to be able to say “I, Uniform = Colonial Past?

too, can go to school”. Discrimination and Affordability The South African Schools Act(SASA), Act 84 of 1996 is aimed at ensuring that all learners have access to education without discrimination and makes schooling compulsory

for children aged 7 to 15. It provides for 2 types of schools, namely private and public schools. Discrimination is  something that almost happens every day. A person can be discriminated because of their ethnic group, financial status\standard of living, disability and sexual orientation. Almost all of these types of discrimination are common in the school environment. The question now is how discrimination is being tackled?. Well, school uniform is one

indirect way that tackles discrimination as it allows a child to look the same as others, to feel part of the school regardless of their standard of living. Although school uniform doesn’t necessarily fight against all these types of discrimination it helps. The opposite is when there is no school uniform whereby a child has to fight to fit in with either expensive clothes or shoes. Let us take my school for example. When there is casual day, many learners do not even bother to co groups thus we have a huge problem of racial issues that are somehow caused by the level of education and past issues like apartheid. Since the end of apartheid the aim was to bridge the differences that caused harm to the nation. Uniform in its own context is special, showing that the wearer is a member of a certain organization, school ,etc. To South Africa it is more than that because it symbolizes the movement of the nation where the country fights against the issues of the past and enables all children from this diverse nation to be able to say “I, m = CoPast? too, can go to school”. Discrimination and Affordability

The South African Schools Act(SASA), Act 84 of 1996 is aimed at ensuring that all learners have access to education without discrimination and makes schooling compulsory for children aged 7 to 15. It provides for 2 types of schools,

namely private and public schools.

Discrimination is something that almost happens every day. A person can be discriminated because of their ethnic group, financial status\standard of living, disability and sexual orientation. Almost all of these types of  discrimination are common in the school environment. The question now is how discrimination is being tackled?.
Well, school uniform is one indirect way that tackles discrimination as it allows a child to look the same as others,

to feel part of the school regardless of their standard of living. Although school uniform doesn’t necessarily fight

against all these types of discrimination it helps. The opposite is when there is no school uniform whereby a child
has to fight to fit in with either expensive clothes or shoes. Let us take my school for example. When there is casual day, many learners do not even bother to come to school and those who do look on point with management will set strict consequences for those absent and yes, many learners will come to school but still wearing uniform.

Affordability is another contributing factor when it comes to education. As much as we can boast about our free education system, the fact is that education still has a price– a price that many parents struggle to afford. Although private schools are reputable for people who are well off, that is not entirely the case because of the tough economy and the high prevalence of poverty in South Africa. According to an article that was originally published on the Conversation in 2015, the cost of private and public school fees rose by 9.3% in March 2015 compared to 2014.
Old Mutual also estimated that if a child started Grade R in 2015, a complete education — including primary school, high school and 3 years of university– cost just less than R1 million for public school tuition or R2.2 million for

private school tuition (nominal terms), This proves that an added baggage like everyday school clothes, which can be slightly expensive, would increase the cost regardless of which school uniform is bought once or twice a year. School uniform also helps children from the poorest of the poorest backgrounds to be able to fit in at school. There are children who face huge problems of poverty in their daily lives and if we were to take away school uniform, we would

not only be taking away their pride and joy but would also be taking away their only weapon to alleviate poverty.

Individuality.

Many school uniform critics say that school uniform reduces the ‘individuality’ of a learner. The Individuality that
comes from self expression. A uniform is worn in a strict way whereby a learner does not really have much to do with

the uniform to show his or her individuality. As matter of fact, the school uniform is exactly there to limit individuality. Everybody must look the same. However, human individuality will still prevail. We are not to conform! Firstly, you can show your individuality wearing uniform —for example you can put buttons on, pull up some different sock, use

the shirt out of the pants and so on. Many great and successful South African designers actually went to school wearing uniform and despite this started showing their individuality more and growing their brand. Lastly, the choice of clothing is somehow not an option for a majority of learners as they do not have much clothes to choose from because of poverty. The uniform is the escape hatch here. Main conclusion This is really a first article. This is such a huge topic and not easy to cover in just one article. I have decided to carry on and the next article will be on bullying and affordability. Do we see bullying of less affluent schools by students from more affluent schools

– Easily recognizable because of the uniform? Do we see bullying within a school itself ? The new blazer vs. the blazer from last year? Is it all linked to affordability or are there other factors at play? I still have not made up
my mind yet whether uniforms are a plus or a minus in our world.. Read on for now and look forward to more from
my side.
Masiziba
Hadebe