Debate Ignited Over Maharashtra Government's Dress Code Policy for School Teachers

Debate Ignited Over Maharashtra Government's Dress Code Policy for School Teachers

Debate ignited over the Maharashtra government's dress code policy for school teachers, with mixed reactions from principals and concerns about the saree requirements. Parents generally view it positively.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Monday, March 18, 2024, 07:36 PM IST
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Representative Photo. | PTI

The Maharashtra government's recent decision to enforce a dress code for school teachers has generated debate across the state. The new standards recommend that female instructors wear sarees or salwar suits, while male teachers wear pants and shirts (tucked in). Jeans, t-shirts, and shirts with designs or prints are not permitted. Schools have been given the freedom to pick the colour scheme, with the advice of light-coloured shirts and dark pants for males.

Principals of various schools expressed mixed reactions to the new advisory

Shama Tarapurwala, Principal of Anjuman-I-Islam's Saif Tyabji Girls' High School, welcomed the decision, stating, "Yes, it is a good decision because teachers are the ideal of students. If they wear different types of dresses, it can be confusing. Unaided schools have different rules. Better if there is uniformity for everyone as students follow teachers."

Suma Das, Principal of Pawar Public School, highlighted that many schools already have dress codes in place. However, she expressed concern regarding the saree mandate. "There is no need for such advisory because all of the schools are already implementing it. We are following most of it. But as far as saree is concerned, as we are moving forward, people are comfortable as long as it's decent and comfortable for the teacher, that is more important than wearing a saree."

Principal Das further elaborated on potential challenges with the saree requirement. "We might face challenges because nowadays youngsters coming into the teaching profession hardly anyone wears a saree. Though the saree is a tradition and culture of India which we are proud of, wearing it daily as a routine and forcing it on teachers in the present scenario is not suitable. Now youngsters wear designer sarees, and wearing a traditional saree would be difficult."

She emphasised the importance of comfort and practicality. "Personally, I am very comfortable wearing a saree, but many young teachers prefer chudidar, salwar kameez with or without a dupatta. Usually, teachers don't wear loud colours. I don't think we need an advisory to tell the teachers what they are supposed to wear because most of the schools and teachers are already wearing what is suitable for the occasion. A guideline on how we should dress might create discomfort, especially during the rainy season for teachers travelling long distances."

The inclusion of the prefix 'Tr' before teachers' names, similar to doctors and advocates, also received a neutral response from Principal Das. "What difference is it going to make? There are many other conditions for teachers; if those are looked into more than giving a title," she remarked.

Teachers echoed concerns about the saree requirement. Pawar Public School, Head Mistress of Secondary Section, Maria Mathew stated, "Only saree, I won't agree because rushing to school is very difficult. A salwar suit is decent and comfortable. There should be flexibility to move around in it. I agree with not allowing jeans and T-shirts because they can be tight and body-revealing. So, I will agree. In our school, our teachers don't wear jeans and T-shirts. So, most of the schools will agree to sarees and a decent salwar suit. We, as teachers, should not distract the students. We are there to teach them, so they should be dressed decently so students' attention will be there, and they will respect you."

Parents generally viewed the dress code positively. Dolly V, a parent of a second-grader, commented, "It's a good decision. Because if you as a teacher will be in a system, then only you will be able to handle and teach kids."

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