Sunday, March 3, 2024

Letters to the Editor


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Embracing college uniform for a positive learning environment

I am writing to express my enthusiasm and support for the recent decision to implement college uniforms at St. Anthony’s College. As a student of St. Anthony’s College, I believe that adopting a uniform policy brings numerous benefits to our academic community.
Firstly, a standardized dress code fosters a sense of unity and equality among students. It minimizes socio-economic distinctions and promotes a more inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels a part of the larger St. Anthony’s family. Moreover, uniforms contribute to a focused learning environment by reducing distractions related to clothing choices.
Additionally, college uniforms instil a sense of discipline and pride in one’s institution. Wearing a uniform encourages students to identify with the values and traditions of St. Anthony’s College, thereby creating a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie. This, in turn, contributes to a positive school culture and academic success.
While I appreciate the move towards uniformity, it is disheartening to hear about the controversy surrounding the Meghalaya People Human Rights Council’s claim that the Principal is coercing students to wear uniforms. I would like to assert that, as a student, I have not experienced any undue pressure, and the introduction of uniforms has been embraced positively by the majority.
It is crucial to distinguish between reasonable uniform policies and alleged coercion. The Salesians of Don Bosco Provincial must thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure that the truth prevails. Removing the Principal based on unverified claims could have detrimental effects on the college’s leadership and reputation.
In conclusion, the implementation of college uniforms at St. Anthony’s College is a commendable step towards creating a harmonious and focused learning environment. I trust that the appropriate authorities will handle the allegations with care and ensure a fair resolution that upholds the values of justice and integrity.
Yours etc.,
Student of St. Anthony’s College,
Via email



On making uniforms mandatory in college

St. Anthony College’s decision to make uniforms mandatory for college students from 2024 triggered commotion! That one of the most prestigious institutes in the State has arrived at this decision must have been after due deliberations. Students may have their own reasons to push back. Let’s be clear, greed must not be the motive here, especially for a college named after the virtuous saint Anthony of Padua, as some are claiming. This thought offended me, being an alumnus of the college. A B.Sc. student from another college argues that upholding “academic values and environment” is more important than marching students into a fashion parade of uniforms. I think we should evaluate the pros and cons without bias.
Great minds like Pascal, Leibniz, Newton, Kant, Marie Curie that we have all studied, didn’t need uniforms to shine. To say uniforms alone boost brainpower is as silly as claiming that eating food from a dining table alone gives us energy. Of course, uniforms do contribute to keeping students from straying into bad habits. I hope the college is concerned about that; if so, it is indeed commendable. College students might think twice about using tobacco products, which is quite prevalent, if they are in school uniforms. Whether one agrees or not, uniforms do bring in discipline and fear of transgression Should we not guard our children from wrong influences, particularly in this digital age? Freedom without “wisdom” is always dangerous.
For all practical purposes, however, grown-up students want to shed those school uniforms like a caterpillar sheds its cocoon. In other words, they “eagerly await,” the deadline when they can get rid of the mandatory school uniforms that they have been wearing ever since they were first taken to school by their parents.
Apart from craving for freedom from school paraphernalia, the young adults sorely desire the space that provides them with the opportunity to explore other interests. Many look for chances to balance their studies with other meaningful pursuits that fetch them extra income. Imagine the situation of poor students from distant villages who are forced to work part-time, like giving tuition to students studying in junior classes or working as salesmen in a shop to lighten the financial burden on their parents. A uniform will be a hurdle for them. This is what I am saying from my own personal experiences. Moreover, no one should undermine the financial strain on families, for whom even a few thousand rupees for uniforms can derail a student’s academic journey. It is a real fact.
On the contrary, the college could always insist on “decent and dignified” attire, regardless of its quality. After all, the label on a student’s clothes do not determine how valuable they are. Albert Einstein never wore expensive clothes. Prioritizing quality education and encouraging, “creative and constructive,” thinking over a strict dress code creates a more equitable and inclusive learning atmosphere. It allows students to be themselves, raising their confidence and sense of belonging. Of course, the institution may adopt appropriate measures to maintain dignified decorum on the college campus. The vibes in an academic institute should evoke thoughts of Pascal, Newton, Kant, Marie Curie, but not of Salman Khan, Shakira, or Beyonce Knowles. I’m sorry for being blunt.
Yours etc.,
Salil Gewali


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