Schools try to outshine each other by their names, facilities and uniforms. Most of the private kindergarten, primary and junior high schools try to modify their uniforms to portray some sort of social class and prestige. Parents may complain about how expensive these uniforms may be considering the frequency of the times the uniforms are changed but they don’t hesitate to let others know their wards attend a particular school when the topic comes up.
I come from a society where schools (up to the secondary level) prescribe uniforms for their student body and I can’t imagine it being otherwise. First of all, it helps with identification. You step out to a function and people can easily tell where you are coming from and the due respect is accorded you. And most ‘concerned citizens’ use this to their advantage by calling school authorities informing them of the presence of their students in town during school hours. Talk about voluntary spies.
Another party would argue that if students were allowed to wear clothing of their choice, they wouldn’t have to worry about replacing faded or short uniforms. They get to wear what they have in their closet; what they can afford. But having being a student myself, I know if students were given this freedom, they would spend more on clothing because they want to look good and that means their wardrobe has to be changed frequently. So in the end, the cost involved with either uniform or choice clothing becomes almost the same.
I’d go for uniforms because it serves as a level ground for all students whether a clique belongs to the middle class and another group belongs to the lower class. They get to wear the same prescribed attire and that helps take away the intimidation the lower class would feel a little bit. It gives them self-confidence in that, if one whose parents are blue-collar workers can wear the same attire as the other whose parents are ministers of state, then it is possible that the former can grow up to occupy the status of the latter’s parent.
I prefer uniforms because it also teaches discipline. One gets familiar with sticking with institutional rules at a young age and when other social agents do their work well, we can be assured of a serious-minded upcoming generation.
So for me, I prefer my kids wear school uniforms. What are you? Do you prefer prescribed uniforms or choice clothing for your kids? Kindly share your thoughts.
Josephine Amoako © 2016