JC uniforms get a nip/tuck

By Liew Hanqing & Jennani Durai

A SIMPLE elastic band has done wonders for female students of Victoria Junior College (VJC) and Nanyang Junior College.
Sewn into the hem of their blouses, it has made all the girls look as though they have neatly tucked them into their skirts. At Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), girls' blouses have had a nip and tuck too, giving students a more fitted silhouette.

Schools are generally strict about how students look and breaking those rules usually means a warning slip or a black mark on the offending student's record.
But there was such a tide of students not sticking to regulation wear, that these schools got the message - it was time for an update.
'Arising from students' feedback, an elasticised band has been included in the girls' blouses to make them look neater,' said a VJC spokesman. Otherwise, the light beige uniform still looks the same.
Skirts are also slightly shorter, and girls no longer have to wear the maroon belts worn by male students.

Suwenn Foo, 17, a final-year student at VJC, said that until the changes were made this year, most girls just inserted shoelaces into the hems of their blouses.
'The uniform looks more presentable with the string or elastic in the hem. Girls would look quite disproportionate if we all had to tuck our blouses into our skirts,' she said.
Uniform spot-checks now are mostly to check that skirts are not too short - something the schools are still loath to change.

It was also student discussions last year on HCunite.com, a student-run site for HCI students, that got their uniform tweaked. The suggestions were submitted to the school.
A spokesman for HCI confirmed that school leaders and students talked about how to strike a balance between comfort and presentability.
The compromise: Blouses are now longer in the front and back, and are cut in the style of a woman's work blouse.
Said the spokesman: 'Without excess cloth at the sides, our female students can tuck in their blouses while maintaining elegant silhouettes.'

At Nanyang Junior College, elasticised tops were introduced for both boys and girls three years ago, a college spokesman said. Again, it was students who asked for them.
'The college decided to take up this suggestion as it was a reasonable one,' said the spokesman, adding that the new uniforms do not cost more than the old.
Feedback was given through student leaders, the school's online feedback channel and during dialogue sessions.
First-year student Hoi Ching likes the look. 'It looks neat without even tucking the shirt in,' she said.
One principal feels an even more radical solution might be in order.

Mr Koh Yong Chiah, principal of River Valley High School and former principal of Jurong Junior College (JJC), said he felt doing away with uniforms altogether could be a better idea. 'JC students are, after all, the same age as polytechnic students, who don't have to wear uniforms - so why make them do it?'

During his tenure at JJC, Mr Koh required students to wear their full uniform just once a week. On other days, students were allowed to wear official school T-shirts with their trousers or skirts. These, he said, could be anything from house T-shirts to student-designed co-curricular activities group shirts, as long as they were approved by the school.

The modifications, however, were a welcome idea for most other JC students.
Said 17-year-old Nur Hanisah, a first-year Meridian Junior College student: 'They're definitely a good idea. Our blouses are quite short - when we tuck them in, they look even shorter.
'The modified uniforms would save teachers the trouble of hunting down uniform offenders every day.'

This article was first published in The Straits Times.Wed, May 05, 2010
The Straits Times


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