School Uniforms Definition: Definitions for the Clothing & Textile Industry

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School uniforms are common in elementary and secondary schools in many nations.

The European country that has the most widespread use of school uniforms is Britain. The practice of prescribing clothing has spread from there to many formerly British territories (including Ireland, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South Africa). Japan is another industrialised country where school uniforms are nearly universal. In most of continental Europe and Scandinavia, school uniforms are however not common. Russia abolished school uniforms in its public school system after the replacement of communist party government in the early 1990s. Cuba still dresses its children in the "pioneer" uniform.

In North America, i.e. the United States and Canada, school uniforms are generally not used in public (e.g. state-sponsored) schools. However, independent schools often have school uniforms. In the 1990s, there was a trend toward (re-)introducing uniforms in American public schools, and especially so in low-income areas. This was at first motivated by a need to counter "gang clothing", but has later also been seen as a way of improving morale and discipline. Those arguments are controversial among many parents, and that fad seems to have peaked. The American kids who are most likely to wear a school uniform today are either very poor or very rich.

Proponents of uniforms argue:

  • they reduce cliques (or gangs) and peer-envy based on clothes
  • they allow the student to focus on schoolwork rather than on socialising
  • they add a professional air to the school environment, resulting in better morale
  • parents don't have to spend on vogueish brand attire. They can buy several pieces of the same clothing and rotate them. They can even be later transferred to younger siblings.

Common arguments against school uniforms are:

  • they violate the students' right to self-expression
  • they are costly (this may or may not be true)
  • "one-size-fits-all" style does not suit all students' body shapes
  • they do not actually result in any scholastic improvement
  • many uniforms are not gender neutral, which may lead to exploitation or discrimination
  • (specific to present-day United States) use of public-school uniforms implies a failing school system and could even reduce property values.

Traditionally, school uniforms have been subdued and professional. Boys' uniforms often consist of dark pants and dress shirt, plus a jacket in cold weather. A girl's might consist of a skirt or kilt and blouse. The gender-specific uniforms have been another point of contention, and some schools permit female students to choose either skirt or trousers. The use of a blazer or suit-like jacket has come into favor in some areas. Some school uniforms proposed in US public schools have discarded the formal style and have opted for bright shirt and khaki pants, or shorts in the summer.

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British night clubs often organize uniform theme parties where patrons are asked to wear adult versions of the uniform. This kind of use of a childrens clothes may be controversial in context of heavy drinking and sexual behavior. Angus Young from the Australian musical act ACDC often wears on scene his school uniform.

Starting from term 2004-2005, the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools forbids Islamic hijabs and headscarves, Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes.

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The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (  ).  9/17/04
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