New P.E Uniforms – Are They Necessary?

This year at UNIS new uniforms have been introduced for P.E. Instead of the old system where any UNIS related shirt and shirt was allowed to be worn for P.E, a new system has replaced it where everyone has to wear the same light blue UNIS T-shirt and the same dark-blue pants. There has been large backlash to the change in the uniform system from the student body and a seeming lack of solid answers from the P.E department. In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of the new uniform system, I decided to interview several people.

When talking with students several complaints arose such as: going out of one’s way to buy new uniforms for P.E was “a hassle”, the new uniform policy “restricts us on how we can express ourselves in P.E”, the new uniforms “aren’t comfortable” and that they are “quite expensive”.

SCO BoutiqueLong Than (Grade 10) even stated that “the shorts are too short” and called for an active campaign against them (I wish I was joking – for Long’s sake).

Overall, the most common complaint made by students was that the School Community Organization (SCO) boutique should have expected each person to buy several items of clothing, since students have P.E quite regularly (every two days on average) – and thus should not have run out of clothing nearly as fast as they did, if at all.

With these opinions (as well as opinions of my own) I went to Mr. Lakwijk in order to get a statement from the P.E department on the different complaints and their view of the situation.

Regarding the new uniform policy in an interview with Mr. Lakwijk, he said:

“It is to standardize the uniforms. What we wanted to get away with [sic] are the MRISA shirts, the APAC shirts, which can distinguish a difference in ability between students, to make everyone more equal.”

He followed by saying that having the new uniforms “is better on an organizational level” – i.e in terms of what is allowed to be worn for P.E and what is not, by simplifying it down to one uniform.

With regards to the SCO boutique running out of clothing, Mr. L recognized that there is a problem, and that the SCO has indeed  “underestimated” the amount of clothing required.

He continued, “If you know that you don’t have the proper P.E shirt or P.E clothes in general, then you should take care of that by bringing any other sports clothes, which the P.E team has addressed in classes.”

I then asked Mr. L to address the issue of house shirts, which bothers many students including myself, since there doesn’t seem to be a clear purpose for them anymore, even though they are more expensive for purchase and were still recommended for new students to buy.

To that, Mr. L denied the need to connect P.E and house shirts (even though in previous years it was a requirement of the students to make said connection) and emphasized that house shirts should be worn during house events in order to support your house.

From these different discussions I’ve had concerning the new uniforms I can say somewhat confidently (realizing overconfidence is never a good thing) that even though the P.E department can supply very reasonable answers to pretty much any question students may have, the student body (and perhaps their parents too) will remain confused on two major fronts: Why there is a need for so many different school shirts, and why it is necessary to have uniforms in P.E if general school policy doesn’t have uniforms?