Parents protest over change of school uniforms, term it gender-bias and a monetary stunt

Mumbai : Parents of Podar School at Santacruz and Nerul staged a protest opposing the decision of introducing new school uniform for students for academic year 2018-19. Parents claimed the new uniform is a monetary tactic of school for commercialisation, the clothing is uncomfortable for students and is gender biased.

The management of Podar school has decided to change the uniform of students. For girls, the new uniform will be a light wrap around skirt while for boys it will be a full sleeves shirt. In addition, the uniform for Physical Training (PT) will be pink in colour for girls and blue in colour for boys.

Parents claimed the new uniform is uncomfortable for students. Pankaj Jha, a parent said, “The full sleeves shirt will be uncomfortable for boys as the weather is already so heated and it is summer time.” While, Meena Salvi, another parent said, “The wrap around skirt for girls is uncomfortable as it is light in colour which will accumulate dust easily. It will make girls feel uncomfortable as light coloured uniforms are not advisable.”

In addition, the uniforms are gender biased and proclaim gender inequality as per parents. A parent said, “Pink is chosen as a colour for girls in the new uniform while we live in a free minded society where we do not associate a particular gender with a particular colour. It is a subtle way to proclaim gender insensitivity which will have an adverse effect on the minds of our children.”

According to parents, the school is trying to gain monetary benefit by selling new uniform in the school campus. A parent said, “The school cannot force us to buy uniforms from the school. In the past, the earlier uniforms were available at nearby stores and we had the liberty to purchase it from any shop of our choice.”

The authorities of the school stated this decision of the change of uniform is taken by the management. A senior member of the school said, “The management has decided to introduce the new uniform. And the uniform is being changed after three to four years. Parents are not compelled to purchase the uniform from the school itself but they can check it at any other vendors.”

Parents claimed the views of Parents and Teacher’s Association (PTA) were not notified before introducing this change. Trial pieces of uniforms are made available at the school so that students and parents can identify the correct size. A parent added, “The approval of PTA was not taken before this decision was made. Schools are not allowed to sell uniforms in their campus but we have been informed to collect and pay for uniforms in the school and this is not right.”

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