What is the first thought that comes to mind when we hear the word College?
Freedom?? Huge campus?? Fun time with friends? Karan Johar’s movies?
But the last thing that comes to anyone’s mind is Uniform, right? Be it Engineering or MBA colleges, you can find every student following the prescribed dress code i.e. boys in blazers or shirt and pant and girls in ‘traditional’ Indian clothes like saree or salwar kameez religiously every day or as per college guidelines. The standard colours are black, white or various shades of blue. Nobody thinks of questioning this ‘Norm’ mostly because the aim of a student in these colleges is to earn a degree without attracting too much negative attention. Yes, the attention will be negative if anyone protests this harmless trend.
But of course, there is some relief in this injustice. Everybody is allowed to wear clothes of their choosing on one day of the week. And on that day, everyone really understands the meaning of college. But not if you are studying in an engineering college. No matter what colour you or your friends wear on this really auspicious day, the mood is always blue.
But of course, it all comes down to why is this harmful? Apart from a few reports of some colleges enforcing a strict dress code for women, yes, it’s always women for some weird reason; how does this harm us. We are just students who go to college to learn something, not promote our fashion sense.
The thing is uniform represents one ideology, the ideology of equality. It takes people from different walks of life and turns them into one single thing. This is the reason why armies have uniforms, police officers have uniforms, schools have a uniform. But do you really think that uniform brings equality in our education system? In the Indian education system, equality is not the matter of concern.
Our Indian mind is conditioned to differentiate every human being on the basis of caste, colour, origin …etc. And same uniform, the symbol of equality doesn’t help in changing this backward mindset.
Now you can say when a poor child enters a private college, the same uniform brings equality to him/her. But can a poor child can afford a high- fi college? You can find these children in government colleges wearing “second-hand uniform”.
In private colleges, a uniform is a major source of business where they earn commission on every sale. And the student has to buy the low-quality and costly uniform from the prescribed seller because it is compulsory. In India, the student doesn’t have a choice, even in uniform!!
Many private colleges sell college uniforms on the college premises show that our education institute is working more like a sales-oriented company and less like the educational institute. So, from college management, you can learn the sales lessons. (MBA students pay attention!!).
In private colleges, rather than teaching equality lessons through uniform, they are busy in counting notes coming from “compulsory uniform fee”.
Our educational institutes represent a factory which manufactures products with the same packaging, where the uniform represents the same packaging. And it happens because our education system is still based on the factory system. Where students had to go to work in factories after their school education. But as always, our country responds very slowly to change.
Coming back to college, when a student enters college, he/she does so to make his/ her own identity by holding different views, having different problem-solving skills and striving to do something different with the same degree which every other student posse. So, rather than selling uniform in college, college management should focus more on quality education and less on sales figures. And college is a place where we open our eyes to new things in this world. And the last thing one wants to see the same colour and same style on every person. Can compulsory college uniform can bring equality to your mindset? Ask yourself.