Circular on school uniform triggers protests in Lakshadweep
The Congress and NCP had organised protests in the islands on Friday.
KOCHI: A circular issued by the education department directing strict implementation of school uniform pattern in government schools has triggered protests in Lakshadweep with local residents suspecting a move to ban hijab in schools. Though the circular does not speak about hijab, it directs principals and heads of schools to ensure that the students don’t wear items other than the prescribed uniform as it will affect the concept of uniformity.
“All principals and heads of schools are directed that every student attend the school in prescribed uniform only which will not only ensure uniformity, unity and spirit of brotherhood but also instill discipline among students. Hence principals and heads of schools are instructed to strictly adhere to the uniform pattern approved on all working days. Non-compliance with the order will be viewed seriously,” said the order issued by director of education Rakesh Dahiya.
The order says the uniform pattern introduced in 2022-23 was appreciated by all stakeholders and hence the department has decided to continue with the same pattern for the current academic year.
The Congress and NCP had organised protests in the islands on Friday. The uniform includes tie, belt, socks and shoes for all students. Boys up to Class V have to wear half pants and half-sleeve shirts while the girls have to wear skirt, and half-sleeve shirt. For senior boys from Class VI to Class XII the uniform includes full pants and half-sleeve shirts. Senior girls have to wear divider skirts and half-sleeve shirts.
“The circular issued by the education department does not say anything about hijab, but it instructs principals and heads of schools to ensure that the students don’t wear items other than the prescribed ones. It also directs to strictly adhere to the uniform pattern. It also says non-compliance with the order will be viewed seriously. We suspect it is a move to discourage girls from wearing hijab. The students may not wear hijab due to fear. So we demand the administration should withdraw the order,” said Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal.
“Though the school authorities did not question students for wearing hijab on Friday, the order may be enforced from next week. We will organise a march to the block development offices and education department offices on Wednesday,” said Lakshadweep Youth Congress leader Ali Akbar.