Review role of school uniforms

Students from Cedar Girls' Secondary School reciting the pledge during morning assembly on Jan 3, 2017.
Students from Cedar Girls' Secondary School reciting the pledge during morning assembly on Jan 3, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

With uniforms being compulsory in many educational institutions , it is important to question if Singapore is taking the right approach to school uniforms and look at why the policy was implemented.

Uniforms are ubiquitous in Singapore, but less common in other countries. One benefit of mandatory school uniforms is the ability to mask a student's socioeconomic status by removing one indicator of one's financial situation - clothes. However, one can dispute the effectiveness of this as spending habits and other material possessions can signal a student's economic background.

And it can be argued that school uniforms propagate elitism among students. Different uniforms for each school act as a visual representation of differing qualifications and a barrier to connecting with students from other schools.

Such concerns about preconceived notions tied to school uniforms would be in line with concerns over streaming in schools, which have resulted in recent actions to change the system.

It may be time to give the role of school uniforms in our society some much-needed thought.

Ng Wei Jing, 17

JC 2 student


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2019, with the headline 'Review role of school uniforms'. Print Edition | Subscribe