No more jeans and T-shirts for Pakistani teachers

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In the Netherlands, education is an environment where people dress casually. There is no strict dress code. Can you imagine the Ministry of Education suddenly introducing a dress code? It happened recently in Pakistan. And not everyone is happy….

No more jeans and T-shirts for Pakistani teachers
Photo: Pexels – Pixabay

No more jeans and T-shirts for Pakistani teachers

The Pakistani Federal Directorate of Education sent a letter to the directors of all (high) schools on September 6th, stating that employees in education may no longer wear jeans and T-shirts. Women also may not wear pantyhose or festive dresses during meetings or gatherings. These rules apply not only to teachers but to all staff within education.

In addition, there are also requirements for personal grooming. They must keep hair and nails trimmed, beards groomed, and wear perfume.

What should teachers wear? Well, there is a recommendation. Firstly, all teachers should wear a special ‘teacher coat’. They don’t mention what that means exactly. Secondly, they recommended the salwar kameez for both male and female employees. This traditional clothing comprises a long shirt and wide ankle-length trousers. They also advise female teachers to wear a scarf or hijab. Male teachers must wear a tie with the salwar kameez. In cold periods, they may also wear a cardigan.

No more jeans and T-shirts for Pakistani teachers
Salwar kameez | Photos: Shazaf Zafar – Unsplash


Pakistani teachers have mixed feelings

The reaction in Pakistan is mixed. On the one hand, some see the dress code as a restriction of freedom. There is even talk of human rights violations and concern about further government imposed regulations.

There are Pakistanis who see the dress code as progress. They believe they should introduce the dress code across several sectors. In December 2020, they introduced a formal dress code for government employees. Some even go a step further and believe that the hijab should be mandatory throughout the country. And that’s exactly what the opponents fear.

I understand both points of view. On the one hand, a dress code is a restriction of freedom. Especially now as casual clothing is popular, a ban on jeans and T-shirts feels like a strict rule. On the other hand, employees in education have an exemplary function. There are so many schools where students have to wear a uniform. Why shouldn’t the teachers have a dress code?

What do you think about this? Are you for or against a dress code for teachers?




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