New Delhi: Pakistan’s Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has issued dress code for male and female teachers of all educational institutes in Islamabad, drawing fierce reaction on social media. Jeans and tights have been banned during the duty hours and principals asked to ensure that their teaching and non-teaching staff maintain “personal hygiene”. Some Twitter users called it an attack on women’s autonomy, others compared the directive to Taliban diktats.
We are strongly condemned😠🗣.
In #Pakistan🇵🇰,the FDE on Monday asked female teachers not to wear jeans and tights and banned their male counterparts from wearing jeans and t-shirts.This is a serious violation of basic human rights and women's freedom. https://t.co/V961W5t8IY
— M.A.Gholey❤🇵🇰 (@magholey) September 8, 2021
Federal Directorate of education issues dress code for male & female teachers.
Prohibits from wearing jeans, tights, t-shirts during duty hours.
Taliban type section introduces in pakistan’s education institutions.
Do you agree/ disagree ? pl. Comments. pic.twitter.com/0xPrfksW9k
— Sikander Ali (@SikanZardari) September 8, 2021
In its letter, the FDE has stated that heads of all institutions should observe “reasonably good measures in their physical appearance”. This includes maintaining regular haircut, beard trimming, nail-cutting, shower etc. Jeans and slippers are disallowed for both genders and tights specifically for women. Emphasis is on the word ‘decent’, which had to be followed within the education spaces irrespective of the outfit. The letter also mentioned that support staff should be in “recommended uniform” or be allocated if they don’t have one.
This is not the first time an education body in Pakistan has issued such directives. In January and February this year, strict policies banning tight-fitted jeans, T-shirts and makeup was issued in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It was particularly meant for girl students to make them realise the culture and values of Islam. It had generated widespread criticism among the Pakistani youth that had questioned it for threatening their “personal freedom.”
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Scores of users took to Twitter to express their disappointment over FDE’s guidelines, calling their priorities “insane”. Parallels were drawn with the Taliban’s action in Afghanistan. They felt as if they were going back in time and it was against the “progress” narrative which Pakistan has been espousing.
Given the general state of the country, this government’s priorities are insane…
Federal Directorate of Education issues dress code for male, female teachers – Pakistan – https://t.co/wEReTyynYj https://t.co/dkwAEtmJJU
— Maria Amir (@Beentherella) September 8, 2021
#Pakistan banning or #Taliban ? 🤔.. jeans is understandable but _ _ ? 😵 pic.twitter.com/0IOxWrK3R9
— : NayaN : (@nayanchandra) September 8, 2021
I disagree with the dress code, particularly for female teachers, being introduced by the federal govt. It's like going back in time and is against the progress of Pakistan. https://t.co/mTxRebJjRn
— Allahdino Channa (@ADChanna) September 8, 2021
One user commented that rapes, domestic abuse, harassment continue to prevail in Pakistan and the government was “idiot” in thinking banning jeans will fix all problems of the country.
problems like rapes, domestic abuse, harassment, acid attacks, gender discrimination & forced conversions continue to prevail in pakistan but these idiots think that banning jeans in educational institutions will fix all of them
— hassaan (@dahnhnh) September 8, 2021
There were those who were not afraid to offer their “controversial” opinions, and happy to embrace the new policy, calling it a welcome change.
unpopular opinion: i don't see anything wrong with the jeans ban on teachers in Pakistan because it's literally just asking them to dress more professionally and there's nothing wrong with that.
— yusra ४ FREE PALESTINE (@wastelandkilos) September 8, 2021
In ISLAMABAD The Federal Directorate of Education on Monday asked female teachers not to wear jeans and tights and banned their male counterparts from wearing jeans and t-shirts.
The same ban should be applied to every girl & women(Actresses) in Pakistan.This Make a hug change
— BlossomHearts (@BloSsomHeaRts2) September 8, 2021
A user showed his support because, according to him, the FDE directive was in congruence to the values of Pakistan, which is an Islamic state.
This dress code represents the majority of Pakistan's population and the idea that Pakistan is an Islamic state but no one is forcing you to follow it.
— M.Usman Sheikh 🇵🇰🇵🇸 (@MUsmanSheikh19) September 8, 2021
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Despite the opposition, the FDE director maintained that the letter was issued with good intention. He was quoted as saying that it was the “responsibility of teachers to observe a proper dress code as they are role models for the students.” The letter itself took a stance in favour of the change because a “research” had proven as such. It said that an attire leaves an influence on the perception of the viewers, students or otherwise, and it can be used to inculcate a positive behavioural pattern among them.
He reiterated what was written in the letter, saying a “professional” attire donned by teachers will create a lasting impression on students and consequently create a positive learning atmosphere.