A Pakistani reader has provided us a brief introduction about the school system and uniform code in Pakistan.
Pakistan is a leading Islamic Country where not only 95 percent of the population are Muslims, but for most part are practising Muslims also. As such, religious beliefs deeply penetrate their social life and dictate most of their lifestyle customs including that of dress code.
The Pakistani Education System is divided into three broad categories: a) The English-medium system, b) the Urdu-Medium System, and c) The Religious Madressahs.
These are privately owned schools that follows the Cambridge Education System (UK) and generally caters to the priveleged/elite and middle-class of the country. Therefore this kind of education system only represents a minority of the population. The schools not only follow the British Curriculum but also their uniform codes. The students of the primary section (grade 1-6) are found to be dressed up in combination of shirts and shorts following the color coding of their own respective school-policies. School-caps are never worn, except by those students in Madressahs and that too for religious reasons only. The uniform code does not change much in winter season except that blazers and ties are introduced; shorts are not replaced by trousers and this is most noticeable in the Beaconhouse Schooling System which is the most respected and admired education system in Pakistan. Kneesocks and shirts are usually white in color and shoes, black. Hair is always kept short and neatly combed otherwise the student can be punished for his/her 'indiscipline'.
These can be both privately and government-based Education Systems that follows the Local Matriculate Board and caters to the middle/low-class population of the country and as such represents the greatest population of the country. The medium of instruction is Urdu which is Pakistan's National Language, but textbooks for Science subjects are in the English Language. The uniform code for students largely depend upon individual school policies. Those schools which cater the middle-class population have adopted the western clothing standards and this may either include trousers or shorts. Trousers are generally preferred even for grade 1 students as part of religious sentiments as covering up of thighs is considered to be an act of modesty in Islam. This is even more so applicable when school management wants to instil such values right from childhood as that can be more everlasting. Read this article (Link) for a more comprehensive understanding of the dress-code in Islam. Again, the hair is always kept short. Other schools mostly have their students wear Kurta Shalwar which is the national dress-code of Pakistan both for children and adults alike.
The Madressah/Religous system follows their own unique Curriculum. The majority of students enrolled here are from lower-middle and lower class. This fact is only applicable when we consider the Schooling system as a whole, otherwise parents from even elite-class may enroll their children in Madressahs for the first 2 years of schooling in an attempt to get their children memorize the Holy Quran (from cover-to-cover). The uniform code in Madressahs are different from that of English Medium schools. Students are never allowed to wear half-sleeve shirts and shorts throughout the schooling period and even beyond. The students instead are expected to be modestly dressed as per the religous rulings (Islamic). Unfortunately what the religious insitutions considers as Islamic Dress Codes are infact--NOT--as they confuse it with Pakistani social customs. As such you will only find the students wearing Kurta Shalwar alongwith a religious-cap; the cap covers the head, the Kurta the body including the full arms, and the Shalwar the legs but only upto the ankles. No part of shalwar is allowed to fall below the ankles which is a part of Islamic fashion code. Western clothing is a tabboo but whole-heartedly allowed to be worn only if the following conditions are strictly met: 1) shirts must be full-sleeved so as to cover the entire arms, and 2) Shorts must cover the knees in full. Ties cannot be worn in a Kurta Shalwar suit. It will be interesting for you to read this article (Link) to have a better and more complete understanding of the dress-code in Islam.
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