PHOTO: ELIJAR MUSHIANA

School uniforms are considered to be one of the ways to separate a school going child and an adult. They are also used to help every child to look the part regardless of their home background. But there is more to the school uniforms then what meets the eye.

Let us closely at the meaning of school uniforms:

  • The first recorded evidence of a school uniform for students dates back to a school in London in 1552[1]. It was a charity school called Christ’s Hospital that educated orphans and poor children. At the beginning the uniforms was for the “wealth elites.”
  • Uniforms improve listening in class:

A study[2] written by Chris Bauman and Hana Krskova and published in the International Journal of Educational Management found that students in uniforms are better listeners. A detailed ANOVA test was conducted across a cohort of schools across 5 different geographical regions.

The study found that students in uniform are better listeners and teacher wait time is decreased. The authors conclude that “uniforms contribute to better discipline in everyday school operations.” They highlight that “good discipline allows students to work well and this ultimately leads to better academic performance.”

School Uniforms
  • School Sports Uniforms Increase Participation In Physical Education Lessons: Wealthy schools have distinct blazers or badges for learners who participate in sport, something that could lure most learners to take part. Other schools have sport uniforms which they wear on sport days.
  • Uniforms are a powerful tool to use for freedom of expression as we have witnessed in the 1976 Soweto Uprising. A 1969 Supreme Court Ruling Gives Students The Right To Freedom Of Expression Through Their Dress.
  •  Qualitative studies that interview parents, teachers, and students tend to find that teachers in particular perceive that uniforms may lead to better test scores (Huss, 2007; Brobeck, 2018), sometimes as a result of better discipline (Bauman & Hana Krskova, 2016), while students remain sceptical about whether their dress impacts their performance (Brobeck, 2018; Gregory, 2013).
  • Parents pay between R800 to R1,500 a year for a school uniforms.
  • Most parents will struggle to buy uniforms since the cost of living is sky-rocketing.
  • The academic literature tends to show that school uniforms correlate with more discipline in schools. There is significantly more consensus that uniforms lead to improved behavior than there is that they lead to improved academic results.
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School Uniforms
PHOTO: ELIJAR MUSHIANA
  • School Uniforms reduce peer-pressure: Peer pressure may occur when students feel the need to dress ‘cool’, be up-to-date with fashion trends, or wear brand name clothing. School uniforms can eliminate each of these potential pressures on students.
  • School’s image is improved in the community, while this may not affect the academic performance, it will help attract quality students who may be able to add value to the school’s overall outlook. Therefore a uniform is a form of advertising the school.
  • Uniforms improve school safety. It is easy to identify an intruder or a person who do not belong to the school. Most schools in the US do not wear school uniforms which could be one of the reasons they have high rates of school shootings. The intruder can come into a school without a uniform and blend in easily without being noticed.
  • They also help students fit-in. They feel like they are part of the community through the uniforms.

There it is, uniforms are more than just a school dress-code, wear that uniform with pride because you are advertising your school and what community you are part of.