Thursday, 15 October 2015

More Pressing Issues Than Length of Uniform

It is out of sheer ignorance that I pen this letter to enquire of my learned colleagues to share with me and the wider society any research in any discipline where there is a co-relation between female students wearing long uniforms and increase educational outcomes. For all practical purposes having a skirt 11 inches below one’s knee is not practical on many grounds. In the first instance the fabric of many school uniform is made from polyester gabardine and with a tropical marine climate such as that of Jamaica these uniforms become extremely hot during the course of the day. Let us be reminded that for the most part Jamaican classrooms are not air-conditioned.
Secondly, why should female students be forced to wear formal wear to school? Yes, formal wear. The length of some of these uniforms mimics those of haute couture gowns which are only worn to formal occasions. Having an uniform eleven inches below the one,s knee has nothing to do with education. We need to ask ourselves the question are we serious about providing our students with an education, or are we into the creating more distractions with already plague the Jamaican education system.
The education system is beset by problems such as bullying, which oftentimes goes unreported in many instances or in some cases students dispense their own justice after the failure of many schools to address same. The issue of school violence urgently needs to addressed. Schools are no longer safe places of learning but, instead, battlefields where only the fittest survive. Data from the Ministry of Education put the matter in perspective: For the period 2011 to 2013, a total of 1,288 violent incidents were recorded in the nation's schools. These included robberies, fights and three deaths.
The continued under achievement and under participation of our males urgently needs be addressed if Jamaica hope to have sustainable development. Sustainable development cannot be achieved if one sex is marginalized. The exodus of our teachers of Mathematics in such of better working conditions and remuneration needs urgent attention.  Given that Mathematics is a critical pillar of the  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme, our policy makers should be looking to address these vital issues than spending man power and other resources to  suspend female students whose uniforms do not meet the required 11 inches below the knee rule. Until one of these female students trip over the ridiculous length of their uniform and suffer some serious injury resulting in the parents or guardians suing the school only then will common sense prevail. As a society we continue to major in the minor issues with our myopic view of social issues in a globalized context.

Wayne Campbell