Bengal common uniform for schools: Students refuse to wear half pants

April 29, 2022
Mita Mukherjee

Students of several government-aided and government-sponsored schools in West Bengal have refused to wear half pants to school making it difficult for the institutions to implement the recent state government decision to introduce a common uniform in navy blue and white colour scheme for all students studying between pre-primary and Class VIII. 

The state government in a recent directive has informed the schools  that it would provide two sets of free uniforms to each student. One set would have a half shirt and a half pant and another a full shirt and a full pant.

Several students of boys’ schools, particularly those in Class VIII are unwilling to wear half pants and have demanded that they be given two full pants instead of one which is delaying the process of implementing the decision, according to a senior official of the state school education department.

Two sets of uniforms were distributed to the students by the government free of cost even before. But it was not mandatory for the schools to give one half pant and one full pant. Students were allowed to  take two half pants or two full pants or a combination of the two. The individual schools could also choose their own colour scheme.

“Earlier, we could give two full pants and two full sleeve shirts to students if they didn’t want the half shirt and half pants. But this time, the students will have to take one half pant and one full pant. Many students are not ready to take the half pants. This has made it difficult for us to implement the decision,” said Soumen Pal, the headmaster of Udaypur Haradayal Nag Adarsha Vidyala in North 24 Parganas.

Jayanta Bhattacharya, headmaster of Hare School in Kolkata said many students, mainly of Class VIII have been approaching the authorities with requests that they be given two full pants instead of one as prescribed by the government.

“Many students have said they are now grown up boys and they won’t be comfortable in half pants considering their height.  We have informed the government about the students’ demand. We are still waiting for the response,” said Bhattacharya.

One reason the Class VIII students are not inclined in wearing half pants is the fear of being teased.

 “I feel awkward in half pants. One feels comfortable in half pants considering the weather conditions in Kolkata where it is warm most of the time in the year. But I have stopped wearing half pants. It would be  better if I am given two full pants instead of one,” said a Class VIII student of a state-aided school in Kolkata.

Parents of many students studying in the junior classes of schools located in dengue-prone areas said they too would prefer full pants to half pants to protect their wards from mosquito bites.

Self -help groups are being involved by the government for stitching the uniforms. The government was supposed to deliver the uniforms to the schools from mid-April.

 Last month, the state government made it mandatory for students of pre-primary to Class VIII of all government schools to wear common uniform in navy blue and white and the shirt of boys and kameez of girls to display the Biswa Bangla logo.

Also read:

Bengal minister urges Opposition not to politicise school uniform issue

Hijab Row: Karnataka government passes order regarding uniforms

Gender-neutral uniforms: Kerala takes the first step

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