While our kids still wear them as part of the norm, have you ever considered the pros and cons of school uniforms? In the US, kids and parents are outraged that schools have started implementing the use of school uniforms. On the face of it, the topic doesn’t seem controversial. But when you start asking around, you’ll find that most kids and their parents have strong opinions. Who knew that it could be so polarising? If you’re not sure where you stand on the matter, let’s explore the topic.
Pros and cons of school uniforms
Here’s a quick summary of the benefits and negative aspects of kids having to wear school uniform:
- Uniforms cost much less than designer clothing and brand names that kids insist on wearing, and as such, helps parents save money.
- When you look at the 2002 National Association of Elementary School Principals Research Roundup, it seems like school uniforms encourage discipline. Uniforms might also lead to a reduction of violence in schools.
- According to the Schoolwear Association, uniforms improve a student’s well-being by reducing pressure about fashion and appearance. It also prevents bullying based on appearance or socioeconomic background.
- According to a USA study of 2007, public school students think that uniforms detract from a child’s individuality. One senior student said that uniforms teach conformity and squelching individual thought.
- Uniforms are known for enforcing outdated gender stereotypes. Girls have to wear dresses or skirts while boys are forced to wear pants. Girls do not have the freedom of choice when it comes to deciding between skirts and shorts.
- Uniforms often emphasise socioeconomic divisions between students that can afford more uniforms and those who cant. Paying for school uniforms is a significant challenge for parents since your kid needs one uniform for primary school, another for high school and one for his or her final year of school.
- Kids don’t always like wearing uniforms, which can impact their behaviour and effort in school. Some kids prefer one school over the other because it has a “better” uniform.
School uniforms in South Africa
The South Africa Competition Commission runs a project with which it aims to reduce the cost of school uniforms countrywide. This comes after it was found that a variety of schools have exclusive agreements with a single supplier, which limits accessibility and drives up prices. They are still trying to work with the Basic Education Department to ensure that school uniforms are as generic as possible so that they’re obtainable from as many suppliers as possible.