Thursday, October 17, 2019

Uniforms have nothing to do with good education

Jan 09. 2019
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I fully support Bangkok Christian College’s experiment to let students wear casual clothes instead of uniforms to school.

Uniform-wearing is not related to the goals of education. As Bertrand Russell said, “Education should have two objects: first, to give definite knowledge, reading and writing, language and mathematics, and so on; secondly, to create those mental habits which will enable people to acquire knowledge and form sound judgements for themselves.” As BCC director Suphakit Jitklongsub noted, now students will be able to be more expressive in making clothing judgements.

Thai schools are obsessed with superficial, easy-to-measure things, such as length of hair/pants/skirts, but not with what counts, eg, the ability to acquire knowledge through age-appropriate research, or make age-appropriate judgements. When I was in a high school in Utah, for example, we had a course called, “Problems of American democracy”. How many Thais (or their parents, for that matter) even know what a democracy is, either Western- or Prayut-style?

BCC is headed in the right direction, but the experiment should last for at least a year. In the meantime, put the time and other resources saved into achieving what Russell rightly noted should be the goals of education.

Burin Kantabutra

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