On the surface of it, one tends to agree. All schools in Malaysia, except those
in the tertiary level, require student to wear uniforms. Students are identified
by their uniforms, and most would give a second thought if they want to break a
school rule, or smoke while being seen in their school uniforms. They would
lower the dignity of the uniform they were wearing. Hence, in this sense,
students wearing school uniform fosters discipline in the student.
students, whether in polytechnics or universities, do not wear school uniforms.
They are regarded as young adults and it is thought that they would
chafe at the lack of freedom of requiring
them to wear a uniform of their institution. They are supposed to be more mature
than primary or secondary school children. Hence, it is assumed that there is no
serious ill-discipline among them. For the younger ones, a school uniform would
be a good check on ill behavior and a means of identification for the public to
report to the school authorities if a student is seen engaging in behaviors that
is not wholesome, for example, swearing,
vandalizing and so on.
In Malaysia, all primary school boys wear white shirt and navy blue short or
long trousers. Meanwhile, the non-Muslim girls wear navy blue pinafore over
white shirt and the Muslim girls wear white baju kurung over long navy
blue skirt. For secondary school students, boys wear white shirt and olive green
long trousers whereas non-Muslim girls wear turquoise pinafore over white shirt
and Muslim girls wear white baju kurung over long turquoise skirt. Some
non-Muslim girls wear the baju kurung. Therefore, all primary and
secondary schools in Malaysia have their school uniforms. This encourages a
sense of identity, healthy rivalry and competition among the primary and
secondary schools in their inter-school games, competitions or academic
pursuits. They encourage competition for the sake of improvement towards
Malaysia has some top schools where their pupils are proud to belong to and
which many parents aspire to send their children to. However, this reputation
was not achieved overnight. For example, Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (STAR), a
fully residential school as the leading boys' school, has a proud tradition of
academic scholarship and sporting prowess. The motivated pupils and teachers
work together to realize their achievements year after year. There is a
tradition of excellence which the school is well known for and a name and
reputation to uphold. The discipline comes from within the pupils' hearts.
Therefore, the reputable image which their school uniform represents is a
reflection of their achievements derived from discipline and hard work, and not
Contrast this with some low-achieving schools where some pupils actually feel
self-conscious about being seen in their school uniforms. They may come from a
school where students have been known to engage in gangsterism, vandalism or
done acts which vex the public, like openly
smoking in public. An atmosphere of low morale is associated with the school and
students do not identify with the uniform. In fact, many in school would be
ashamed to wear the school uniform. Therefore, a vicious cycle sets in when the
school can only attract low-quality pupils into its school admission exercise.
An efficient and enlightened principal and hardworking, motivated teachers
could improve a school's lot. As the school starts improving in the academic and
non-academic spheres, parents and pupils begin to recognize it as adding value
to a student's education, and more able students will be attracted to the school
and identify with it.
Conversely, a good school's standards may slide if its students and staff
become less disciplined and focused on achieving good results. If an ineffectual
weak principal is appointed, standards may drop further. Then the school uniform
would not be a source of pride or identity. It would also not encourage
discipline as only the uniform of a good school can inspire.