A new school rule was recently introduced by former Education Minister Roman Giertych. Education officials said a key reason for mandating uniforms is to prevent students from being distracted by fashion to the detriment of their studies. The fear is that expensive clothes that children from wealthier families wear make children from poorer families feel inferior, robbing them of self-confidence.Education officials said another reason is safety.
Drug dealers would be unlikely to wear uniforms and thus would be easily spotted at a school, officials said.Still another need for a uniform policy, education officials said, is that it promotes students’ sense of identification with their school.The Education Ministry, however, didn’t impose a policy for one consistent design for the new uniforms. Every school principal was responsible to choose the school’s own uniform design after discussions with the pupils’ parents.This procedure has caused many problems. The best-looking uniforms are costly. That’s why most schools selected blazers or T-shirts with a school’s logo printed or embroidered on them instead of classical uniforms consisting of a blazer and a skirt or trousers.
Poor families ? those whose income doesn’t exceed 351 zloty per person ? could apply for a special uniform subsidy of up to 50 zl. That’s enough to buy only one blazer. The ministry didn’t say what poor families can do to cope with such limits. However, despite the new rule, students of only a few schools will start the school year wearing new uniforms. And it’s not just because many students are against wearing the same outfits as their classmates. The most common reason for the delay in introducing uniforms is that tailors didn’t get them sewn on time.Despite earlier statements, Education Minister Ryszard Legutko announced that he was not going to punish those principals who didn’t introduce uniforms on time. He said he would give students some more time to accustom themselves to the new rule.