Most schools across India insist on uniforms for their students. These uniforms are of different types depending on the geographical location of the school. Generally, schools in the north have separate summer, winter, and sports uniforms; whereas most schools down South have just one main uniform, the reason being the climatic conditions are not as extreme in these areas. In a country like India where economic disparity is greater than in most western countries, school uniforms are considered to be essential. Some of the reasons that school uniforms are prescribed are: to create a feeling of equality among the children, to reduce tardiness in the students, to eliminate niche clothing, and to build a strong sense of identity. The most important is, of course, the belief that uniforms create uniformity. As mentioned earlier, the economic divide in India is deep and most schools include students from diverse walks of life. School uniforms unite children and help create a sense of togetherness. A direct benefit in having a standardized school uniform is that it eliminates the need for different kinds of clothing. Students, especially teenagers, tend to assess their peers by the brand of clothes they wear and standardized school uniforms serve to avoid this.
A survey by the NSBA (National School Board Association), USA, states the following facts with regard to the importance of school uniforms as a tool for school improvement.
1. School uniforms give a feeling of belonging to the school
2. What a student wears to school affects his/her educational experience
3. Mandatory school uniform programs are on the rise
4. More secondary and higher secondary school students are wearing uniforms
5. Schools are seeing quantitative data improvements
6. School uniforms remain more cost-effective than general apparel
7. The basic attributes like price, availability and fit still matter
The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), a pioneer in Fashion Education in India was set up in 1986, to provide potential fashion and apparel professionals to the ever growing textile and apparel industry. NIFT-Chennai Centre, which was setup in 1995, undertakes various design consultancy projects for schools, corporates, and hotels.
The author is an Assistant Professor, Department of Knitwear Design, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai. He can be reached at [email protected].