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Weighing Opinions: The No School Uniform Policy Under the New Administration
School uniforms are irrefragably important. It gives identity to us students, as well as a distinction among other group of people. However, with the new, dominating administration in the Philippines and with this ongoing pandemic we are still facing, the vice-president at the same time, the Department of Education secretary Sarah Duterte, pronounced the wearing of school uniforms as ‘optional’, and ‘not mandatory’ in all public schools in the country. Although this sounded beneficial to some, other people did not consider it as advantageous and even linked it to certain issues like discrimination and violence.
In this scenario where there is a barrier in the perspectives of the people, who should we listen to, believe on, and, what would be our stand? In this article, I am going to view and explain both sides of their opinion, at the same time, state my stand and insights regarding to this topic.
The Disadvantages of No Uniform Policy
( I came across with this news article by Estanislao, 2022 of Rappler, a renowned news website which is the opposition of current administration, about the disadvantages of the said policy. Below are the core/main idea in the said article.)
Not requiring students to wear school uniforms can be considered anti-poor.
Parents will be obliged to buy new clothes for their children once the school uniforms will be not required. In contrast, washing and wearing the same uniforms can money, as well as laundry costs. In the point-of-view of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) or any business activities, it will be greatly affected since the students shall be not buying their product.
Concerns on Attire Discrimination
From the published news article by Chi, 2022, the concerns on attire discrimination was raised after the vice-president made the school uniforms optional. This can be an opportunity for the education department to create reconfigurations regarding sex-based and stereotypical uniforms. This will allow them to preach about gender and development and inclusiveness, among others. However, it is better to let them decide on this when they are more capable of weighing things out.
Concerns on gang fights and violence.
Some people usually think that students become more prone to violence if they do not wear school uniform. This is because, gang members or other members of sorority can easily blend with the students due to the absence of school uniform. In this case, gang fights and other sorts of violence can easily take place.
The Advantages of No Uniform Policy
Eases Budget Burdens
With the crisis caused by the pandemic we all are still facing, it would be a burden for the student and parents to pay or buy school uniforms. Since it was 3 years ago when face to face classes were implemented, students will be forced to pay or buy since the past uniforms can not be fit or those are unwearable already. From the news article by Perez, 2022 of ABS-CBN network, the vice-president pointed out the the increasing prices and economic losses due to the pandemic. Below is her official statement.
"Even before the pandemic, it is not a strict requirement for public schools to wear uniforms (DepEd Order No. 065, s. 2010) to avoid incurring additional costs to the families of our learners. All the more that it will not be required this School Year given the increasing prices and economic losses due to the pandemic. "
Moreover, in the news article by Araja, 2022 of Manila Stadard.net, the Commission on Human Rights CHR executive director Jacqueline Ann de Guia had this to say: “this is a compassionate policy that considers the financial difficulties of indigent families who are unable to afford the cost of uniforms due to the rising prices of goods and commodities, as well as the economic constraints resulting from the pandemic. ”
Teaches students about being adaptive.
This experience can teach students on how to deal with complicated situations. The ability to adjust to changing social norms and situations is a talent that students who dress themselves every day at school acquire. Uniforms do not help students learn how to make wise decisions while preparing for their first college visits, job interviews, internships, or promotions. After all, workplaces and social settings demand different standards, whereas uniforms offer a prefabricated, conformist solution. In addition, teens forge independence by living with the consequences of trial and error.
Encourages Independent Thinking
In addition to a variety of visible social groups, economic classes, and ethnic or religious traditions, children and teenagers at school must deal with a variety of clothing trends. These differences can lead to friction and even societal isolation, but they can also encourage young people to value different viewpoints and exercise critical thinking
Taking My Stand on this Topic
I am a student, and our school did not strictly impose the wearing of uniform. Fortunately, I have not had unpleasant experiences having no school uniform. Weighing all the pros and cons of this topic, I agree with the implementation of no school uniform policy for the reasons:
1.) The no uniform policy actually respects the incapability of poor students like me, and, even creates an easier path towards having a free and accessible education in midst of crisis.
2.) Anyone can wear something cheap, yet, appropriate to the dress code of the school. It doesn't have to be something expensive. As long as we look presentable, I don't think there can still be a discrimination in terms of our attire. At the end of the day, going to school is not going to a fashion show.
3.) Gang fights and violence are the concern of the school, and how they implement security around the school premises.
4.) This policy is optional: it respects the students' life status and free will.
Along with the demise of the past administration, enters a new way of governance which falls from the hands of the newly elected heads of state and government . With the simultaneous plans and efforts to create favorable change, comes the different perspectives. However, I hope that we support the administration for their plan, missions, visions and goals will only work out if we put our hundred percent support to them, especially if it means something good for the people and country. We are still slowly going back to normal, therefore, let us take things slowly.
1.) Araja , R. (2022, July 22). CHR cites Sara’s policy banning school uniforms. Manila Standard. https://manilastandard.net/news/314246057/chr-cites-saras-policy-banning-school-uniforms.html
2.) Chi, C. (2022, July 19). Concerns on attire discrimination arise after DepEd makes uniforms optional. Interaksyon. https://interaksyon.philstar.com/trends-spotlights/2022/07/19/222594/concerns-on-attire-discrimination-arise-after-deped-makes-uniforms-optional/
3.) Estanislao, J. (2022, July 22). OPINION] In the name of uniformity. Rappler. https://www.rappler.com/voices/imho/opinion-in-the-name-of-uniformity/
4.) Perez, A. (2022, July 18). Duterte: Wearing uniforms 'not a strict requirement' for public schools. ABS-CBN. https://www.google.com/amp/s/news.abs-cbn.com/amp/news/07/18/22/duterte-uniform-not-a-strict-requirement-for-public-schools