» » JI opposes shirt-and-trouser school uniform

PESHAWAR: As the elementary and secondary education department is considering changing uniform in government schools, the Jamaat-i-Islami has opposed shirt and trousers for boys terming it Americanisation of education system.

Official sources told Dawn on Monday that the department recently began deliberations for changing the prevalent school uniform for boys and girls in government schools across the province.

They said for boys, two types of uniform were under consideration, including trousers and shirt and shalwar and kameez but the girls’ current uniform i.e. shalwar and kameez would remain the same except for colour.

Jamaat-i-Islami, the coalition partner of the provincial government, has opposed the proposed change in school uniform.

In a statement issued here on Monday, JI provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said the provincial government had not consulted his party on the changing of uniform, which was a violation of Section 8 of the agreement his party had struck with the ruling PTI prior to joining it as coalition partner.

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However, a senior official in the education department told Dawn that wearing short and trousers as uniform was impossible in schools where students used to sit on the floor in absence of furniture.

They said of the total of 29,000 government schools in the province, a vast majority lacked furniture.

Around 10 years ago, the then Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government in the province had also replaced ‘militia clothes’ for students of government schools with white-colour uniform.

However, the last government led by the Awami National Party reintroduced militia uniform for various reasons.

Asked how two types of uniform would be introduced in schools, sources said the E&SE department would select the colours of both shirt and trousers and shalwar and kameez.

They said parents of the students and administrations of the respective schools would choose from the two uniforms in line with the local cultural perspective.

A senior official of the education department, who is part of the deliberations, said the uniform colour had an impact on students so a decent colour of uniform would be selected for graceful look.

He said initially, a consensus was developed among stakeholders that students won’t wear any cap unlike today when they used black cap as part of uniform.

While voicing reservations about the proposed change in uniform, JI provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said his party was neither consulted nor taken on board by the government on the matter.

“We have asked our ministers to raise the issue in the coming cabinet meeting as the use of shirt and trousers as school uniform is tantamount to Americanising the education system in the province,” he said.

Mushtaq said a JI delegation would also meet Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to convey the party’s reservations on the issue.

He said national dresses should be used as uniform in educational institutions.

When contacted, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, spokesman for the provincial government, said consultations on change in school uniform had yet not been finalised and instead, they’re in progress at the education department level.

“All political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, will be consulted once the consultations reach the decision-making stage,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2015

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