POLITICS > Obligatory school uniforms abolished amid criticisms

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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The amendments to dress codes will come into effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Transparent, too-tight or sleeveless clothing will be forbidden, as well as emblematic political symbols. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The amendments to dress codes will come into effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Transparent, too-tight or sleeveless clothing will be forbidden, as well as emblematic political symbols. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

The Turkish Ministry of Education has abolished the nationwide monotype uniform requirement in schools and lifted the headscarf ban for religious imam-hatip schools yesterday, prompting fierce criticism from opposition parties, unions and educators.

Opponents claimed economic differences cause pedagogical traumas for children and permitting headscarves harms secular education.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended the move, saying education in uniform has drawn complaints for many years.

“Let them buy the clothes they wish as they can afford and dress up their children, these steps are taken upon request [from the nation],” Erdoğan said yesterday at a joint press conference in Madrid, Spain with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The amendments to dress codes published in the Official Gazette Nov. 27 will come into effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Students will be allowed to wear casual clothing meeting specific requirements. Transparent, too-tight or sleeveless clothing is forbidden in the new code, as well as any clothes or accessories bearing emblematic political symbols, shapes or writing.

Female students will not be allowed to wear mini or slit skirts or make-up. Students who wish to continue wearing their school uniforms will be allowed to do so.

Economic differences

Removing the school uniform requirement sparked fierce debate in the country immediately after the amendment announcement. Those who do not favor the idea have claimed that economic differences will cause pedagogical traumas.

The Education and Science Personnel Union (Eğitim-Sen) criticized the practice, claiming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “took another step to religion-based education.”

 “This practice may lead to religious expressionism with clothing and this will cause polarization among children, and girls will be forced to [dress in compliance with religious rules],” Eğitim-Sen wrote in a statement yesterday.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has also strongly criticized the amendment announcing that they “will take it to court.”

“The habit of children in rich families of purchasing luxuries will create a feeling of inferiority,” CHP Istanbul deputy Nur Serter said.

Ministry of Education Undersecretary Emin Zararsız said school registrations were made using an address-based population registration system, which makes children from families with similar budgets go to the same schools.

Headscarf debate

The regulation also lifted the headscarf ban for imam-hatip schools, while the ban will continue in other schools.

Only students in middle and high schools will be permitted to wear headscarves during elective courses on the Quran, according to the new regulations.

Ministry of Education Undersecretary Zararsız said the issue was speculated on and the amendment only allowed headscarves to be used in all classes in imam-hatip schools, unlike the old practice, which only allowed it in vocational classes.


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Notice on comments

Lara Gravenor

1/1/2013 8:05:53 PM

School uniforms and rules about appearance only invite teacher's punishment and scolding over ridiculous and outdated "rules". When will they wake - up to the 21st Centuary where people need to be taught how to think not what to think? I am a Christian and not Muslim but work with a woman who is Muslim who wears her headscarf to work - I respect her right to be who she is and her right to practice her religion whilst allowing me to wear a cross around my neck.

US Observer

11/28/2012 9:24:20 PM

@ Adnan- There is so much wrong with you post I just laugh. So you are in Australia? You like how Muslim women are free to wear the headscarf, yet you denounce secularism. : roll eyes

Brit in Turkey

11/28/2012 8:25:12 PM

Observations from my old jaundiced eyes: All the present uniforms that I have observed from several local schools have sleeved shirts and jackets, and the girls' skirts are already at the "mini" level. The kids, on the whole do look very smart and happy, and cannot be distinguished by social background. The summer holidays are for two and a half months during the hottest times and are extended in September if the weather remains too hot. The rules should not be changed.

american american

11/28/2012 6:33:15 PM

wait until a couple of kids get stabbed over shoes, a bag, or some over petty thing.

Agnes Smith

11/28/2012 5:55:52 PM

Brian - I realize this. And why I wish they could wake up and get on with what seems obvious. Every time PM puts a foot wrong I hope and wish for a stronger oposition who can wake the nation from this downward spiral. Can biut hope - I have no god to pray to.

Brian Irlanda

11/28/2012 1:09:01 PM

@Agnes Smith. You are right but unfortunately the CHP just cannot seem to get its act together. Their in-fighting and constant criticism while not coming up with coherent policies is playing into the hands of the Islamists. They are not a credible opposition. Sad but true.

Misses Ataturk

11/28/2012 12:39:41 PM

“Let them buy the clothes they wish as they can afford and dress up their children!"..... Shhh but they can't wear short skirts or a hint of make-up. I love the irony in that.

Aaron ....

11/28/2012 12:33:32 PM

@Adnan Kara Osman If the Zionists wanted to destroy Islam in Turkey with Ataturk as their weapon..wouldnt it been easier to just not have him exist at all..therefore annihilating the Turkish nation altogether...what a joke...the Australian education system obviously failed miserably with people like you...

Recep Ozel

11/28/2012 12:18:59 PM

This will lead to more inequality, abuse, and social profiling in Turkey which is already rife... Unfortunately the Ministry of Education and the PM knows nothing of the values of education!

Agnes Smith

11/28/2012 11:49:17 AM

Another thing - school teachers have enough on their plate. Overworked underpaid and now they have to become law-enforcers, checking girls for the length of thier skirts, sleeves and a possible hint of make up. Or will the PM send in secret police to regulate. This is a step too far. Let the school admin make these decisions. They know what works for their students on a local level. Turkey is a countrry where most kids love going to school (generally) and they wear their uniforms with pridei.
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