Preventing access to education on the basis of dress unacceptable

by | Feb 4, 2022

The act of closing gates for girls with hijab to prevent them from entering college by college principal in Kundapur, is highly deplorable. Abrupt and arbitrary steps like these, from concerned authorities, cannot be justified under any pretext. College authorities must not act under pressure from any group and ensure impartiality prevails and the constitutional rights of students are safeguarded. The mere wearing of the hijab, must not offend anyone and it must remain the prerogative of an individual.

Accessibility to education is fundamental and cannot be restricted. Classrooms are shared spaces not merely restricted to learning of subjects and topics subscribed in syllabi but it is also a place to interact, understand and develop mutual relations on the basis of mutual respect. Educational institutions must provide an atmosphere for healthy discussions amongst students from diverse backgrounds and help them develop respect for each other. Narrow sectarian agenda must not suppress impartial and objective education.

Education is integral to the type of society we wish to construct. A diverse and plural society requires individuals who are open-minded and tolerant. Exclusionary practices must not become part of the education system in any manner. Uniforms or dress codes should not be used to impose uniformity. Also, the uniform/dress code must not be discriminatory to anyone and it should not be a rigid outfit that excludes the fundamental rights of those who are to wear it.

SIO calls upon the college authorities to immediately let those girl students into classrooms, let them study, and let them decide for themselves what do they wear. SIO expects that concerned authorities will respect the constitutional rights of individuals and the proposed uniform guidelines will not be used as a guise to enforce homogeneity or to deny rights guaranteed by the constitution of India. SIO will make efforts to resolve the issue amicably and will reach out to concerned authorities.

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