One of the most popular debates that comes up among parents and their children as they seek to choose schools is whether or not school uniforms are helpful. Many see school uniforms as somewhat old-fashioned, but the fact is, thousands and thousands of schools all over the world still require varying degrees of uniform policies for their students. So, the question remains relevant; are school uniforms worthwhile, or even unnecessary? Here we shall take a quick look at some of the benefits, advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) behind the question of school uniform implementation.
Advantages & Benefits of School Uniforms
One of the core concepts behind school uniforms is that they eliminate the potential for social issues that arise from student attire. For example, students from lower income families, or even students with unconventional dressing style, can be embarrassed or even made fun of in school environments without uniforms. Uniforms keep these students from being disadvantaged socially.
Safety Regarding the use of School Uniforms
Another benefit of school uniforms often mentioned by teachers is that they are very safe in the event of an emergency. With all students wearing identical attire, it is very easy to identify them or, for that matter, to identify outsiders mingling with students when they shouldn't be. In any event in which quick identification of students should become necessary, uniforms can be of great service to school authorities.
Convenience of wearing School Uniforms
School uniforms can also be beneficial in that they are very convenient for both parents and students. Families involved with schools that don't require uniforms go through all kinds of hassles, from shopping for back-to-school clothes, to picking each day's outfit. With school uniforms in place, these steps are essentially done away with, and school uniforms can be purchased and acquired with ease, whether from a public provider such as Marks and Spencer, or from the school itself.
Disadvantages & Cons of School Uniforms
Occasionally, school uniforms can be more burdensome, from a cost standpoint, than independent clothing shopping. The trouble is, when this is the case parents don't have the option of shopping for cheaper clothing, as uniforms are required. In 2012, the BBC even ran an editorial in the spirit of cautioning schools against high uniform costs as burdens to parents.
Stifled Expression & Individuality
Some parents and students are frustrated by the ways in which uniforms stifle personal expression. While the "pro" of social equality based on attire among students is certainly a potential positive, others argue that students in primary and secondary schools should be learning how to express themselves, and part of this can be about choosing and wearing independent outfits.
Inconvenience & Disadvantages
Though they're convenient to shop for, school uniforms can also offer their own inconveniences and problems. Generally, these issues occur when schools that require uniforms are particularly strict about dress code. Many parents and students grow tired of disciplinary penalties for loosened tie knots or un-tucked shirts, etc., and these problems can be avoided in schools without uniforms.
Finally, it is worth noting that the concept of school uniforms (and its' implementation) can also be a cultural matter, which can extend further beyond schools but also into Universities and Colleges. For example, the general rule in Thailand, is that even if you are attending University you are still bound to wearing a particular uniform relating to that University, even if a student is actually 18 years old or older.
There is no doubt that the subject of school uniforms is an interesting and sometimes emotive topic. So, what do you think? Are you in favour of the use of school uniforms or against? Whether you are a student, teacher or someone interesting in expressing your point of view, we would love to hear from you? We welcome your comments.