By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, March 6 (IANS) The University of Peshawar (UoP) has joined the Hazara University, Abbottabad and Bacha Khan University (BKU), Charsada, in introducing strict dress codes for female students and teachers, banning them from wearing modern attire, a decision that has already raised serious concerns over the conservative approach towards women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The UoP has introduced a dress code for its students, notifying its female students to wear white overalls with white salwar kameez.
As per the notification, male students have been directed to wear modest clothes with chest cards.
The notification however, does not mention specification of banned clothing, as was done by the other two universities. It has cleverly notified of the dresses that will be acceptable in the university premises.
The UoP has become the fourth university in the province as previously BKU, Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU) Swabi and Hazara University introduced a dress code on the directives of Governor Shah Farman in which dresses including skin fitted jeans and shorts were banned for female students.
Additionally, BKU has also imposed a ban on earrings and wristbands for female teachers and students.
The decision previously was widely criticized on social media as many questioned the deliberate and blatant discrimination against female students and teachers.
The criticism failed to prompt a response from Governor Farman, instead he has went ahead and ordered other universities to follow the same directive.
“The decision was taken after a meeting of the university administration with governor,” UoP spokesperson Muhammad Noman said.
“The decision has also been issued by three universities and we are also determined to implement it completely.”
The University maintains that the decision is aimed at bringing uniformity in education institutions and decrease the financial burden on parents.
“There was no difference between the free structure of public and private universities anymore and the decision has been taken to lessen the burden of parents this way,” said the UoP spokesperson.
The decision has been seriously criticized by activists, who say that the focus of the institute should be towards enhancing quality of its students rather than enforcing dress codes for females.
“Gender discrimination at play in UoP. Confining female students to specific dress code in erstwhile UoP, while letting male student room unleashed, is to discourage cohesive, integrated learning in already decaying educational setup,” said Asad Shahzad Khan, a vocal student activist.
By Hamza Ameer