• Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 9:28 AM
    Last Update : Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 9:28 AM

Secondary School Uniforms Spark Controversy in Algeria Amid Calls for Standardisation

(AWP) - The issue of secondary school uniforms and hairstyles continues to stir controversy in Algerian society after reports that educational institutions are moving to oblige students to comply with regulations that discourage inappropriate and unconventional clothing and hairstyles.

The debate has been growing since the expulsion of a female student from a school in the state of Béjaïa, eastern Algeria, for wearing a traditional tribal dress, leading to calls for a unified school uniform to promote integration among students and reduce discrimination between them based on clothing and fashion.

Teachers and parents stress the necessity of adhering to a uniform, respecting the customs and traditions of Algerian society, and observing any specific guidelines in this regard.

Ibrahim Elian, a teacher and parent, said, "Until recently, we used to adhere to a uniform dress code for both male and female students. However, current hairstyles and clothing are inappropriate for students and do not suit them at all, especially students’ haircuts, which by all standards are an educational disaster. As a teacher, I prefer that there be strict laws and deterrent measures so that the student adheres to a uniform dress code. Also, the way they cut their hair must be appropriate."

Fawzia Awadi, a parent and member of the Parents Association, believes that standardising school uniforms is for the students’ benefit.

She said, "The advice given to female students is useful, and when you reach adulthood you will realise that it was in your best interests. When the teacher advises you and forbids you from doing something or orders you to dress respectfully or something else, this is not out of jealousy, but rather out of concern and compassion for you. She [the teacher] wants to give you the essence of education. Despite our progress in age, we still rely on our parents’ advice, and I am proud of what my mother taught me."

Algerian educational officials stress their role in preserving appropriate dress codes in the educational process.

Ahmed Abdelhadi, a member of The National Union for Assistants and Educational Supervisors, said, "Our role also consists of maintaining appropriate attire for students in order to join the educational institution and we strive to have a single dress code for our students. Their hairstyles and attire should align with the customs and traditions of Algerian society."

The Council of Secondary School Principals in Algeria also called on students’ parents to help prevent inappropriate dress and preserve the Algerian identity.

Mohammed Bouhajar, a school principal and member of the council, said, "Inappropriate dress is a crime against both the secondary school and the nation. Parents must support the administrative staff and the institution, and this dress must be strictly banned, as it does not serve the students, nor even their parents, and it does not serve the state or the Algerian nation."