Dress code for women teachers in Punjab

The office of Punjab’s Director General School Education (DGSE) has ordered teachers in government schools not to wear indecent and provocative clothes like jeans, tops and fashionable dresses to work. The no jeans rule in the written order by the office of the DGSE does not mention male staff. In fact, it does not specify any dressing rules for male teachers. The order, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, says,We are receiving complaints regarding indecent dressing by teachers in schools, especially female teachers, who are coming to school wearing indecent (bhadkaau) clothes. The women teachers are wearing jeans, tops and other provocative (uksaau) fashionable dresses and coming for duty. This is also affecting the students. So, dress code should be implemented at the earliest in all schools. District education officers (DEOs) have also been ordered to conduct inspections at government schools across state to ensure that the dress code is implemented.

The order, however, does not specify what a decent dress code is. Speaking to The Indian Express, Amarbir Singh, Assistant Director (Secondary Education), who issued order, said that jeans and tops are indecent and not a part of Punjabi culture. They can wear suits. There has to be a proper dupatta. Even saris are okay but not jeans and tops. Teachers are role models for children and they have to wear something which keeps the body completely covered. If they wear T-shirts, then there is no dupatta, which is not acceptable. Some even come in pyjamas which is unacceptable, he said.

Adding that no type of Western wear can be worn by women teachers, he said, Suits and saris are part of our culture. We have received many complaints of female teachers coming dressed inappropriately. Students’ minds are affected if a teacher is not properly dressed. Now, proper inspections will be held and those teachers coming dressed indecently will be pointed out. School is not a place to show your wardrobe collection of Western clothes. Asked if the no jeans rule also applies to male teachers, he said, Yes, of course, it is for male teachers too. They also cannot come in kurta-pyjama or jeans or without proper turban. They have to dress up properly in shirts and trousers.

Reacting to the orders, a female teacher said, The order specifies that female teachers are dressing indecently. If a no jeans rule is for both male and female teachers, then why was is it not mentioned in the letter? Why only female teachers have been told to avoid jeans and tops? Is this how Punjab education department is setting an example of gender equality? Most of our male colleagues come wearing jeans, but the letter has failed to say this. There is not a word written on how male teachers should dress up during school hours.

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