MANGALURU: At a time when the hijab issue has spiralled across the state, with the government and college authorities insisting that it does not conform with the rules on uniforms, the Admission Guidelines-2021-22 posted on the Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) website not just states that the uniform is not mandatory, but also points out that some college principals and managements making uniform mandatory is a violation of rules. It also says that such matters will be considered seriously.
This is in stark contrast to the statements issued by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh that a uniform is mandatory and that the rule even existed during the Congress regime. But, going by the DPUE website, the state did not have any rule until the government issued an order on February 5, mandating uniforms stipulated by the colleges.
A few months ago, a group of Muslim girls studying in the Government PU College in Udupi had sought permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms. This was one of the few colleges that had banned the hijab. When the college refused to accede to their demand, the girls turned up at the college wearing the hijab, but were not allowed to enter classrooms. Soon, many colleges followed suit.A few Deputy Directors of Pre University Education (DDPU) in the state, whom TNIE spoke to, were fully aware of these guidelines.
Dakshina Kannada DDPU Jayanna C D, agreed the uniform is not mandatory, but said that colleges have made it mandatory for the purpose of ‘identification’ of their students.Jayanna, who was earlier principal of a government college in Channarayapatna, Hassan district, said that in colleges where there are 1,500 to 2,000 students, it is difficult to handle them if they turn up without uniforms.
“Boys who are not students will come to the campus and also sit in class. Uniform will help prevent such things,” he reasoned. Asked what is the purpose of such a guideline then, he said they will take action only where there are ‘some complaints’ from students or parents, but he refused to explain further.Sources said almost all PU colleges in the state have made uniforms mandatory for their students though it is a violation of state guidelines.