Thursday, September 17, 2009

On education and dress code

Marathahalli Ring Road, Bangalore.
I saw a banner which read : Let's debate college education; Not College Wear.

From my window, I read the banner once again.I was netted in Marathahalli Ring Road traffic in the morning peak hours. So, I had a lot of time to debate on the topic. Dress has become a topic of debate!!! Unbelievable.

Cant help recollecting this: The last short-notice debate was back in my school final year, where I had to face a fellow debater from a Boys' school. I was representing my all-girls school. Both the schools have always been competitors in terms of education, all the time. The ground was packed to see the final stunt of the Tamil debate( last term of school , after which there would be no more chance to fight any sports or science exhibition or literary battles) between the two schools - Me and the unknown debater [There was a time in my life, I didn't remember names... just Math, Physics, Chemistry,Computer Science and Engineering College admission.] All I remember was that, the topic was about dress sense/ dress code ( something to do with Indian tradition or some such 'nice' and 'serious' topic at school level).This boy picked up 'Rangeela' Urmila's short skirt in his talk and I gave a counter comment on that which won the judgement of the debate in my school's favor. I also know I hated Urmila's dress code(!!!!) in the movie instantly because, it was quite a task to counter on the boy's genuine concern about the length of the dress...(!!!!! Back then, I took statements for their face value.!!!! I remember telling my friends that he was after all right in his argument.)

This scene flashed just as I started writing the post... and I see it is very related to the banner. A school kid remembered the dress that the girl wore and has taken the point appropriately in a debate. That is the impact of a dress that you wear.

When we go to places of worship, we all are expected to dress appropriately. Every faith/religion believes that whatever you wear, should not divert someone's attention from prayer. The same goes with colleges too. Any casual wear can pass for a college wear[ I don't mean the kind of dress you wear for an outing in tropic summer. ]. Any dress that does not deviate the attention of a fellow student to the extent of diverting completely from education , can be allowed.[ once in a while casting a quiet glance at a class mate for what he/she is wearing, is perfectly okay.., all part of college education's unwritten curriculum!!! ]

If the student is in college to study subjects, people, values and develop some healthy networking skills, and in the whole process wants to have fun, dress does fit into the picture. An improper dress surely invites troubles in various forms. I don't have to name it all here, I am sure you know.

College wear can be casual or formal based on personal choice. If formal, there is no debate. If casual, anything elegant ( to look at) and comfortable ( for self) is okay. Wearing dresses with funny quotes, crazy designs, totally out of the ordinary color combinations, accessories that have no remote connection to the dress design or color choice or style is all part of college fun. In all these and many more unthinkable college stunts, elegance, decency, and comfort factor should not be compromised at all.

Debating education is a totally different topic... College education is always the second priority in most institutions these days, as I see. And I am not in the directorate to comment anything on it right now. All I can say is, there seems to be an increasing need to redefine the term education and reiterate its meaning to the students of today. Will the authorities think about giving some sensible all-round education ( including wearing the right attitude and dresses) to the children instead of endlessly talking about technology and science advancements which can anyways be picked up from the Internet, to an extent??

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