Uniforms are pointless: Here are 10 reasons why!

Published: October 14, 2013
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Uniforms do not, by any means, guarantee appropriate dressing.

This article is a response to the one posted earlier on The Express Tribune blogs which emphasised the importance of uniforms for university going students. As a university going student myself, not wearing a uniform in university is like a burden off my shoulders. This freedom represents the transition from being a young, troubled, carefree A Level student to becoming an actual grownup in university with the responsibility to dress in attire suitable for all situations.

Here are 10 reasons I feel uniforms should be done away with at the university level:

Wearing a uniform will not save money:

Wearing a uniform does not necessarily ensure that you will save money on clothes. After all, clothes are still a necessity and you cannot expect students to roam around naked or in uniform when they are not at university. Clothes will be purchased regardless of school/university requirements and might I add, regular clothes do in fact have more longevity than uniforms as they are suited to many more occasions.

Uniforms do not save time

It does not take a sane university going girl 40 minutes to get ready in the morning for university; this is a gross generalisation. As a university student, I can’t recall the last time I spent even 30 minutes getting ready for university.

Putting on a simple T-shirt and jeans in the morning does not require much effort and the whole process takes less than 10 minutes. You can save time in the morning by ensuring that your clothes are ironed the day before. Try it. I am sure it won’t take you 30 minutes either.

Besides that, there are many university going students who work part-time and do not have the time, energy or extra-fuel to go home, change out of their uniforms and run to work.

You are preparing students for the professional world, not another classroom.

Uniforms do not make you weight-conscious

I was in high school for two years and wore a uniform but never made an attempt to go to the gym and no one else in my friends circle did either. It is natural for every young adult to feel self-conscious about their weight but that only highlights the need for a proper diet and exercise. Uniforms do not in any way prevent a fat person from looking fat or a thin person from look skinny. If the person is conscious of such an issue, he/she will make the effort to go to the gym and maintain a healthy diet. If he/she is happy with the way they look, they won’t. Simple. It makes no sense to drag uniforms into the debate of fitness.

Those who stare will not stop just because you are wearing a uniform

The argument that males in a university are more likely to ogle at their female colleagues just because they aren’t wearing uniforms is a silly one. Males will ogle at you even when you are outside the university which does not mean that you stop stepping out of the house if you are not wearing a uniform.

Being in a uniform will not make people avert their gaze, unflattering as they might be. Those who are in habit of staring will stare regardless of what you are wearing. There is nothing you can do about it so why not dress in a way that pleases you and you alone?

Symbol of being a student

The first liberty you are taught to respect in university is your dress-code. It is the first step into adulthood and the teachers and students alike realise that in order to be treated like an adult you have to be put on the same platform. A student will not automatically start respecting a teacher just because he/she is not in a uniform. You cannot treat an adult student like a child and expect him/her to act like an adult.

Identity cannot be suppressed to just mean a logo on a uniform; it is your behaviour, your mannerism, your educational background that evidences the actual identity of a university- not a uniform. For those still in doubt about identity, we have ID cards.

Appropriate dressing

There have been instances in job interviews where students have shown up with loose ties and stains on their shirts. Teaching students to better present themselves in a public surrounding with elegance in their clothing and confidence in their posture will prove to be more useful in the long term for students. By inculcating the essence of appropriate dressing, universities will still be ensuring that students wear decent clothes. Students have to be prepared to face the real world, where there are no uniforms and differentiating one person from another will be based on a conversation and not the look of a person.

One other thing that I would like to add is that uniforms do not necessarily guarantee appropriate dressing. Students have been seen in many schools wearing a kameez shorter than one that is deemed appropriate or boys wearing their pants low enough for you to want to turn your eyes away in embarrassment. Uniforms do not, by any means, guarantee appropriate dressing.

Thailand statistics are not applicable to Pakistan

Just because university students in Thailand prefer uniforms does not mean that Pakistani students have the same opinion as well. In a country where unnecessary restriction of transport, public hangouts with the opposite gender etc are placed on students anyways, the mundane rule of wearing uniforms in university is just adding to the list that needs no expansion. This was seen when the NUST picture went viral and students from all over Pakistan protested and expressed their displeasure on the social media forums showing that students in Pakistan, already burdened with checks, are vehemently against supplementary restrictions that can easily be avoided.

Illicit affairs will continue, in uniform or not

This would play more as a concern regarding the ethics of the teacher/professor than the student. How can wearing a uniform prevent someone from indulging in an affair? The idea is ludicrous! If an affair is to happen, it will happen. Period.

Benefits to the ‘textile’ industry

The same labour working for a ‘uniform’ industry can still work for the textile industry. Buy more clothes instead of uniforms and you can still ensure that the industry is thriving.

Yes, there is harm

A university life is supposed to be an initiation in to adulthood, one that begins with doing away with a symbol of your childhood. School is over, this is real life and in real life you don’t wear uniforms. The harm is that if you promote uniforms at the university level you are conditioning the young-adult to a sheltered life, one that is not ready to see what the world has to offer. Students have to learn become comfortable in their own skin and not rely on a uniform to identify themselves to the world.

As a student I feel that the university life is a time when a student has the space and freedom to blossom into their own. It is a time to face responsibilities, develop individuality and personal values. University is a time when students have to concentrate on building their lives, not have irrelevant and illogical debates about whether to ‘enforce’ uniforms or not. You can’t ask a child to wear a professional suit to school and in the same way you cannot ask an adult to wear a uniform to university. Let’s concentrate on saving the world and making a name for ourselves and our country- debating about uniforms is a waste of time and energy.

Javeria Khalid Petiwala

Javeria Khalid Petiwala

A student based in Karachi, an ardent debater, and a Master Chef fan, she loves writing and travelling.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Myra

    Nicely written! Uniforms and these unnecessary restriction are seriously so bothersome.Recommend

  • gp985

    HATED UNIFORMS EVEN AT SCHOOLRecommend

  • L

    No uniform for even kids in germany. We can learn.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Well put..Recommend

  • nadir

    well saidRecommend

  • A®sal

    Freedom of dressing (y)Recommend

  • Hamza

    In a extremely class divided society like Pakistan, uniforms are a must. The argument made above is all well and good but you quite simply can not ignore the fact that unlike Germany or Sweden where wealth is distributed far more equally, Pakistan does not fall into the same group. Students will be bullied if their parents can not afford to buy them the latest “cool”, branded clothes. Parents will have to face even more financial pressure from their children, etc. So no, I think it would be a big mistake at this point and time to argue that a country like Pakistan should abandon the school uniform.Recommend

  • huhululu

    at least uniform saves us from the hassles of deciding what to wear and what not to wear dailyRecommend

  • Zain Ul Abadin

    uniforms teach us unity and discipline….Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Nice article but I think uniform has its own advantages:
    1) You have a sense of equality if you are wearing a uniform. Without uniform, the students would be distributed in classes based on what they wear. Rich kids would be wearing branded clothing, whereas kids from the middle class families would be wearing according to their means. Ergo a new divide.
    One note: here we are saying X country has no uniform and y country has no uniform. Well X country might be more civilized and y country may have different priorities but X and Y both will have some rules (moral and written) around what you wear.
    2) Uniforms create a sense of discipline among students.
    3) Removes the possibility of peer pressure to buy trendy clothes.
    4) It increases your sense of belonging, so you actually take pride in what you wore. Although you should take pride in the teachings but discipline is also a part of teaching.
    I think we should have one uniform for all the schools in Pakistan up to a certain grade. I do not think that we need uniform for undergrad and grad schools. At that point in life, I ASSUME students are mature enough, disciplined and understand the moral bindings and etiquette of every place they visit.Recommend

  • Malik

    You are not a NUSTIAN so don’t qoute any second hand references.Recommend

  • Malik

    The list you refer to , also asks for “go On a Blind date”, “Make your own booze”
    where are our kinds heading!Recommend

  • Sami

    I belong from a Poor class family in Punjab and my father saved every penny to give me education and now thanks to the efforts of my family i am a well established guy. For the rich people of Pakistan wearing no uniform should be the way of life but i do remember that i spent some months in a college where there was no uniform and it were the most agonizing days for me.
    I had the sigh of relief when i joined another school where there was a uniform. I will stress that in a country like Pakistan where economy disparity is at the record level we should impose uniforms on all schools.
    There will be hundreds of thousands of poor children like my background of the past whose parents cannot afford to buy clothes on a regular interval and uniform is the best choice to bring poor children out of inferiority complex.Recommend

  • I m nobody

    I cant wear formal wear (however my college encourages to wear one) let alone uniform neither i will study in a college in which girls r made to wear salwar kameez and dupatta.That will make me backward in thinking and approach:-)Recommend

  • hfg234

    Loved your reasons. well responded!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Uniforms in school……..yes. Uniforms in university…………no.
    Liked the article.Recommend

  • SJS

    I disagree completely. The writer has mentioned no research to support her arguments. Uniforms are supposed to create a sense of equality and they do a pretty decent job of doing so. Imagine the chaos if students started to compete whose wearing a brand and who’s not. I know that in Italy it is a serious situation.Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    there should be no uniforms for two main reasons: 1-It hampers ur personality development…sense of dressing…how u feel about ur self e.t.c 2- it imposes artificial equality like in socialism e.t.c As far as modesty is concerd it may be guarded or ignored in either case… thts irrelevant!Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    That’s why our policemen are doing so well.Recommend

  • KN

    Thank you for writing this.
    That last article was bullshit to the extreme. I can’t recall ever spending Rs. 50k a year on clothes at all, even though our university had a formal-clothing rule…
    I spend 30 minutes every morning getting ready just to look presentable and yet I graduated at the top of my batch.
    And I am physically fine because I don’t stuff myself with junk food. I could go on and on about how the last article was wrong, but one sums it up. Good work.Recommend

  • Jazzzz20

    I Fully agree with you.Recommend

  • iqra rehman

    i cannot believe this blog has been published . Such an immature piece . Uniform in our class obsessed society is must . It will be absolute disaster for parents who cannot afford to buy trendy clothes for their children. This especially applicable on young girls who get obsessed with latest clothes , shoes and accessories.Recommend