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“Bad Students” protest group urges pupils to ditch their uniforms

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikiwand

School students are being urged to ditch their uniforms and wear their own clothes from the start of the new term next week. The “Bad Students” protest group has posted an appeal on Twitter, calling on students to wear what they want.

“Finally, we can discard the obsolete uniforms and have the freedom to wear personal clothes. To all students, throw away those uniforms on December 1, and dress the way you prefer to go to school – #saygoodbyetouniforms.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, the call has also been taken up by fellow activists in the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen. The Pakee Students KKC group took to Facebook to urge students to ditch their uniforms.

“We would like to invite all students to wear your preferred outfits to school. This is meant to question whether school uniforms are that important. Will teachers not allow us to attend class just because we don’t wear uniforms? Why go to school if the principals and teachers are more interested in uniforms than schooling? If students cannot afford to buy uniforms, does this mean having no rights to attend class? Let’s try and see if wearing outfits of our choice can reduce inequality. If there are 10 students wearing their preferred clothes, they may be punished. But if all students at a school do so, just imagine the changes this will bring.”

Since anti-government protests began in mid-July, students have been railing against the Education Ministry, as well as the wider administration of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Amid claims of bullying, sexual harassment, and physical abuse in schools around the country, students have slammed Education Minister, Nataphol Teepsuwan, for his refusal to reform the system.

Meanwhile, Amporn Pinasa from the Office of Basic Education Commission says students refusing to wear their uniforms are in breach of school regulations. She adds that rules are there for a reason and that not everyone in society gets what they want. She points out that, rather than creating disparity, uniforms are more likely to foster a sense of equality among students.

“Wearing school uniforms will not have any direct impact on learning but it has its merits. Actually, wearing uniforms does help reduce inequality. If students wear their preferred personal clothes, it will lead to some students wanting to get the same expensive clothes as their more affluent friends, even though their parents are not as well off.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11:11 am

    See they think they have to fight school uniforms because they are being forced by authorities to wear them. “wearing uniforms does help reduce inequality”.

    What they don’t realise is that most students actually like to wear them.

    The end of their protest movement has come.

    • Avatar

      Fabian

      Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11:56 am

      Hahaha.. Sounds like they are just warming up.

      “What they don’t realise is that most students actually like to wear them.”

      Did a little fairy whisper that into your ear?

      • Avatar

        Ynwaps

        Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 2:14 pm

        The uniforms provide unity. They’re already a symbol in the student protests. Though I understand that they don’t want to be controlled by their authorities, the uniforms aren’t the issue. See the yellow and red shirts? They are all somewhat United. It just works.

        • Avatar

          Fabian

          Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11:04 pm

          Ummmm… When I see the protests I see rain coats, helmets, ducks and sometimes uniforms. But they don’t need the uniforms all. The students are united by the school uniforms but to them they are a symbol of oppression. So they want to get rid of the uniform.

  2. Avatar

    gosport

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Now, they are the real bad students. Dont put your nose into others business. Insane bunch of young kids.

    • Avatar

      Fabian

      Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      Why? What they do is very brave, very good.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 12:24 pm

        Because suggesting that “wearing outfits of our choice can reduce inequality” is blind to the reality for poorer students as it doesn’t “reduce” inequality but highlights it instead.

        Sadly, it isn’t “very brave, very good” but very selfish and very self-centred as there are other issues at Thai schools that these kids should be protesting about instead but which they’re not even aware of as they don’t affect them.

        • Avatar

          Fabian

          Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 1:03 pm

          I agree with you that clothing might highlight in equality. But I don’t agree on the solution. School uniforms are not a solution. Giving people uniforms is just putting them in place like minions again. That also goes against the nature of people to express themselves. And that, I believe, does more harm than good. Ending inequality is the only solution to inequality. My view is that these uniforms are a symbol of inequality because they emphasize a strong hierarchy.

          A uniform might also help against bullying. But again, I do not believe that uniforms are a proper solution to that. Unfortunately the world still finds itself in a post-industrial system of teaching, with emphasis on subjects that make people productive workers. Educational systems should focus much more on things like philosophy, self-actualization and empathy.

          In short: to me uniforms can be solutions, but the wrong kind of solutions. Like if you don’t want to listen to someone talking you just put some duct tape on his mouth.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 10:21 pm

            Unfortunately while “things like philosophy, self-actualization and empathy” may be useful for a monk they don’t really help anyone earn a living.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    For a change, Ynwaps, we’re on the same page.

    The Bad Students had some very valid points which they got addressed, as they deserved to – full credit where it’s due. Now, though, they seem to have run out of valid complaints and just be looking round for something selfish to complain about to justify their existence.

    I’m glad to see that Ms Amporn Pinasa from the Office of Basic Education Commission has avoided the old arguments about ” a sense of pride … teamwork … belonging … etc” which can be argued against just as reasonably (” freedom … personal choice … etc”), instead going for the very valid and pretty irrefutable argument of “reducing inequality”.

    Having to wear a uniform stops people being bullied and picked on just because they don’t have the “right” trainers or jeans, which many can’t afford, and it also stops gangs forming and identifying themselves so easily, at least within the school if not outside.

    The Pakee Students KKC group and the Bad Students have unwittingly shot themselves VERY firmly in the foot by saying that “If students cannot afford to buy uniforms, does this mean having no rights to attend class? Let’s try and see if wearing outfits of our choice can reduce inequality”, as did the Move Forward (previously Future Forward) party who proposed a similar move in June this year.

    Allowing everyone to choose what they wear and, more importantly, can afford, CAN’T “reduce inequality” but can only highlight it – the differences won’t just be limited to who has a clean set of clothes but who has the “right” set of clothes.

    They’ve also shown just how divorced they are from the poorer students, the very ones they’re claiming to want to “reduce inequality” for, and how little they understand and know their problems. Students from poorer families DO get free uniforms here – maybe not new, and usually only two sets, but at least they can feel the same as everyone else even if it’s far from ideal.

    If they want to “reduce inequality” why aren’t they looking at extending options for free school meals and free milk, which are often the only proper meals those from poorer homes get?

    Why aren’t they looking at the charges for the school bus which parents in rural areas have to subsidise, or their children have to walk several kms just to get to their “free” school? Free books, writing materials, school bags, sports clothes, Boy Scout / Girl Guide uniforms, and school trips?

    There’s plenty of “inequality” that needs to be reduced and protested about, but that the Bad Students have chosen instead to protest about school uniforms says a great deal about their movement and its motives, and very sadly none of it’s good.

  4. Avatar

    Denis

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Here is another proof, if it were necessary, of the poverty of the political culture of these high school students. Democracy, for them, means no longer having a uniform at school … To cry with laughter. Poor kids, completely manipulated.

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    I remember when I had to wear uniforms for school I was always growing out of them.
    My mother used to buy me jackets with the sleeves over my hands.
    Some people thought I did not have any hands.

  6. Avatar

    Ian

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    When i was a child growing up in england we were poor my mama got free school uniforms from the state so we were like everyone else at school this happened across England and gave everyone a even start .once they got rid of uniform that’s when we saw who was poor rich kids in designer clothes and trainers bullying of poor kids who couldn’t have these things but you know what it made me the man I am today successful kind and caring I’m behind the students but as some of comments say please don’t Do this it’s a wrong move i agree with haircuts let the girls have whatever style and length they choose but back away from uniforms please

  7. Avatar

    Fabian

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    In my country we never had school uniforms so I also never wore one. I do remember bullying when I was a kid. I’ve been guilty of bullying a few times, I got bullied a few times. But it was never about clothing.

    By coincidence a good friend told me today now his son is being bullied at school because he is a vegetarian.

    Bullies will find an excuse to bully. School uniforms don’t prevent that.

    I agree that a uniform can camouflage poverty and inequality…. (no guarantee). But shouldn’t we just tackle these two things? It’s not impossible, there is just not enough willingness.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 9:53 am

      I’m not suggesting that uniforms “prevent” bullying, nor are others, but that removing them facilitates it.

  8. Avatar

    James Pate

    Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 2:58 am

    The problems with Thai schools include inadequate curriculum for today’s world, outdated teaching methods that don’t facilitate critical thinking and, underpaid, browbeaten teachers. However, the kids have latched onto a tangible symbol for all of that- the uniform. The kids may be smarter than you think.
    On a side note, I wore a school uniform until age 14. You could always spot the kid with frayed collars, old shoes, hand-me-downs. You could also spot the kids with dry-cleaned shirts, Rolex watches and Bally shoes. So, uniforms aren’t exactly “uniform”.

  9. Avatar

    Suua

    Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Perhaps it should be as it was when I went to school……you can wear a uniform if you choose, or you can wear something else if you choose.
    It’s called freedom of expression, which should always be allowed, in all walks of life.

  10. Avatar

    Fabian

    Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 9:26 am

    @Issan John (reply button is missing somehow so I reply here)

    I don’t know about you about but most of what I learned in secondary school I never used in life, and definitely not for work. I dare to say that learning things like confidence, assertiveness, mindset stuff, can help people much more to achieve a good living and find the job you love. However, you would get more entrepreneurs and less factory worker bees. And that might worry some people.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Agreed, Fabian, albeit with some reservations as “confidence, assertiveness, mindset stuff” were a bit of a given for those at my school, but we’re not talking about an ideal (at least I’m not), we’re talking about a school system that barely produces “factory worker bees”.

      To work in a factory here, or 7-11, or in Tesco just stacking shelves, you need to have successfully completed 12 years at school – but nearly half those in rural schools are still “functionally illiterate”, now well into the 21st century.

      Thailand doesn’t need “more entrepreneurs”, it needs more “factory worker bees”, more skilled workers and more technicians.

      The Bad Students have achieved what they set out to do – now, in my view, if they want to continue to improve the ‘students’ lot’ and “reduce inequality” they should be looking at genuinely free high school education, including free transport and school meals rather than being allowed to wear the latest trainers.

      • Avatar

        Fabian

        Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 10:54 am

        If you want to maintain a global system of overconsumption than you will need more factory worker bees but that system is broken. It’s poisoning the planet and the minds of people. If you want to come up with good sustainable answers to the problems the world is facing than you need more smart creative thinkers. In fact, by the way, with the ongoing global automation more and more factory workers will become superfluous.

        You are right that it’s good for the students to demand equal access to education. If they can change the system they probably will. But that’s not where they are yet. First, reformations should take place. I don’t think that getting rid of the uniforms is even their biggest concern inn that respect. I see it more as a way for them to increase the tensions with the government.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 5:13 pm

          Fabian, I agree with you 100% but the problem I have with your argument is that while the world needs “more smart creative thinkers” all most Thai school kids want is a decent salary and all they need to get that is a decent education.

          My own school and its opposite number have churned out a surfeit of old boys with “confidence, assertiveness, mindset stuff” over the last few centuries, and that’s produced a bunch of absolute prats to run the country, particularly this century.

          The Bad Students may only want to use uniforms as a stick to beat the government with, but it’s the wrong stick as it’s not going to get them the support they need to produce change.

  11. Avatar

    Hugh Kirton

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 10:23 am

    That’s exactly what I said to why we wear them in the UK to my wife. Uniforms get rid of inequality not create it.
    Students always feel the need to protest around the world but this is a bad cause.
    The only people who wish to get rid of school uniforms are the rich.
    The group have even said they know if you are poor or rich even when you wear uniform but once again the only students that feel like this is a good idea are the well off students that dont have to worry about this kind of thing

  12. Avatar

    Hugh

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 10:25 am

    This will lose the protestors a lot of support

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