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HomeGo To PakistanIslamabad teachers banned from wearing jeans. Some Pakistanis are calling it Talibani

Islamabad teachers banned from wearing jeans. Some Pakistanis are calling it Talibani

The Federal Directorate of Education, which introduced the ban, said professional attire donned by teachers will create a positive learning atmosphere.

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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.

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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Twitter reacts

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.

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.

There were those who were not afraid to offer their “controversial” opinions, and happy to embrace the new policy, calling it a welcome change.

 

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.


Also read: Pakistanis make sure Imran Khan can’t count on the chicken scheme. They’re eaten, not sold


Government’s take

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.

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