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Politician Says Thailand Education Ministry Should Scrap Mandatory Uniform Policy to Relieve the Financial Burden on Parents

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BANGKOK – A prominent Democrat politician has suggested that Thailand’s Education Ministry should scrap the rule requiring students to wear uniforms to school, in order to relieve the financial burden of parents.

Mallika Boonmeetrakool Mahasook, a Democratic Party member and founder of Mallika Foundation, proposed abolishing the compulsory wearing of uniforms in every public school.

“Every year, before the start of the new academic year in May, we always see news of parents struggling with the financial burden of having to buy expensive student uniforms; some parents line up in front of pawn shops to borrow money for purchasing their children’s new uniforms,” Mallika said.

She told the Nation that the main reason for this problem is because all public schools enforced the rule that their students wear uniforms, so most families have to spend money they don’t have on uniforms every year.

“Since wearing a student uniform does not improve a student’s academic performance, I suggest that the Education Ministry scrap the rule requiring the wearing of uniforms in public schools. If they are allowed to wear appropriate dresses, it would save their parents this annual financial burden,” she said.

“This is not an era where poor students have to suffer humiliation. We should end the perpetuation of wrong social norms that judge people on the clothes they wear at schools.”

She also urged schools to pay more attention to enhancing the quality of teaching than focusing on students’ uniforms, as the two have no correlation.

Meanwhile, retailers of school uniforms say sales have been rocky before the start of this years new semester.

Manote Wongthaiwan, of Thaveechai, one of the biggest student uniform retailer in Chonburi, said his shop has been busy, but parents are buying only what they absolutely need.

Parents have said budgets are tight and they are worried about the economy, so are buying socks and shoes and only basic uniforms they need, with few luxuries.

He said Thaveechai has not raised prices this year and has tried to help parents by offering 10% discounts and free embroidery.

He said the shop also employs students as part-time employees to help them earn some money during the school holiday.