Decision to switch from skirts to salwars draws criticism

Decision to switch from skirts to salwars draws criticism

The government’s decision to change the uniform of school children between classes VIII and X from skirts to chudidars has come in for criticism.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the change in his budget on Wednesday. Several child rights activists termed the move as an attempt to “impose” dress code for schoolgirls. The issue has been debated several times in the past as well.

Nagasimha Rao, a child rights activist, said the government must have sought the opinion of children before taking such a call. “If it was a matter of comfort, why did they not introduce jeans or pants? Dress code might have so many implications on children. For instance, a child actively involved in sports might not find salwars comfortable. They could use this money for betterment of children,” he added.

Meanwhile, Niranjanaradhya V P, fellow at NLSIU Centre for Child and the Law, said the problem lies with the attitude and this decision would not take the state a long way.
“Without setting the attitude right, we do unnecessary things. We intrude into girls’ lives. Women with full dress and sarees also are victims of sexual assaults,” he said.

Terming it “a rightwing attitude,” Niranjanaradhya said there is a need to sensitise children instead. Asked about the decision, Ajay Seth, principal secretary, department of primary and secondary education said, “When we toured the state, we realised that a lot of schoolchildren in rural areas had switched to salwars. We were told by a few of that they would be comfortable wearing it. Hence the shift.”

Manjunath H K, Karnataka State High School Masters’ Association said, “Several parents thought skirts were too short for girls. This has been the topic of discussion for some time now. The decision is good as Indian culture will be protected.”