10 reasons why university students should wear uniforms
This is a contentious and much debated topic amongst the academia and other social circles. Be it in Pakistan, or around the world, this idea has been discussed multiple times and on different forums. However, I feel that university students should definitely wear uniforms, and here are a few reasons why:
An average student spends around Rs50,000 a year on clothes for university. Having a couple of uniforms instead of fashion statement clothes for the university will not amount to more than Rs10,000 per year. This means that an average of Rs40,000 can be saved per student. Multiply this by a 1,000 students and we are saving a huge bundle by simply enforcing uniforms. The students can pool in the savings and set up other state-of-the-art facilities, like food courts or better labs.
Less time consuming
A boy who studies at a university spends about 20 minutes to get ready in the morning, and most of this time is spent in selecting an outfit. The same goes for the girls who end up wasting at least 30 minutes in getting dressed. Having a uniform would mean that each university student would save, on average, at least 15 minutes per day, which now they can consume doing something constructive instead, like spending some quality time with their parents before leaving or having a proper breakfast instead of rushing out the door.
Considering how unflattering most uniforms are and what a poor job they do in camouflaging curves and flab, students will have to work much harder to look good in their uniforms. This means students will be spending more hours in the gym now, causing the rates of Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Cardiac diseases and other obesity-related problems to decrease.
No room for excuses
In cases where teachers and students indulge in illicit affairs, the usual answer brought forth by teachers, after being questioned, is,
‘Oh, I didn’t know he/she was a student. I thought he/she was a colleague.’
When the student is in a uniform, this excuse will no longer remain valid.
Though no survey on this topic has been done in Pakistan, in Thailand a Suan Dusit poll conducted just last week (September 14-17, 2013) showed that 94.4% of 1,293 university students in greater Bangkok think uniforms are “necessary” to maintain order and their identity. 70.96% think they should wear the uniform everyday while they attend classes. So if they are okay with it, what issues do we have?
A symbol of being a student
Often when I am standing behind someone in a line, I have heard the teller ask for a student ID card and more often than not, the person has left it at home. When he/she is wearing the uniform, getting student discounts on coffees, fast food, and even travel will be a piece of cake. If someone asks for a student ID, simply do a twirl and show them your clothes as identity of being a student.
Difference between students and teachers
When I was teaching, it was often hard to differentiate between the throngs of students roaming through the college and the dozens of Teacher Assistants (TA) who had barely graduated a month ago. Sometimes I would invite a girl to grab coffee with me and only later on realise that she is a student and not a TA. Had the students been in uniform, this problem wouldn’t have taken place at all.
As someone who has taught at two co-educational institutes, I have seen it all from plunging necklines to pants which disappear at the thigh to the I-am-not-sure-you-want-to-know. Though I don’t mind all the scenery, I think boys spend about 60 minutes every day just ogling their colleagues. That’s again a lot of time spent doing nothing. If this time was to be used on learning Maths, our country would be rich in engineers and mathematicians. Uniforms can maintain an equal standard of dressing for all students.
Benefits to the uniform industry
With the demand for uniforms increasing, to meet the supply requirements the industry would have to hire more employees. Thus, not only would this benefit the students but even the nation as a whole.
What’s the harm?
Lastly, my question is, why not just wear a uniform? Not wearing them is not making our students any smarter, sharper, or better! Then why not just wear them and make life easier for all?
Hence, with so many positives and useful reasons, I see no point as to why students should not wear uniforms.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.