Facing flak for its order directing female teachers not to wear "jeans, tops and bright suits", the Punjab government today withdrew the directive while suspending two employees of the education department in this regard.
The state education department had yesterday, in an order, imposed the dress code on government school teachers, especially females, asking them not to wear jeans, tops and bright suits as the outfits have a "bad" effect on students.
Taking swift action after the furore by teachers across the State after orders were issued by the State education department on Monday, Punjab Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary on Tuesday suspended two department officials with immediate effect.
She said that deputy director Amrish Shukla and assistant director Amarbir Singh have been suspended for issuing these instructions without the knowledge of senior officials.
"These instructions reflect an old mindset and I do not agree with them. How to dress and what girls or ladies should wear is not done, we are encouraging girls to do their best in their respective fields and this defeats the whole purpose,” Aruna Chaudhary said.
Punjab Education minister Chaudhary said the letter has been withdrawn and clarified that any affront to the dignity of the nation’s teaching community would not be tolerated. She further said that such a mindset needs to be condemned in this age of women empowerment.
The instructions issued by director public instructions (secondary education) Sukhdev Singh Kahlon had asked all district education officers and school principals to ensure that teachers wear "decent” clothes to schools.
"Sarkari schoolan vich adhyapakaan duara, khas taur te ladies adhyapakaan duara, bhadkeele pehnawe pa ke apni duty keeti jaandi hai. Kai ladies teachers duara jeans-top te kai tarah de uksaau, fashionable dress pehen ke school duty keeti jaandi hai... jis da vidyarthiyan ’te asar penda hai (Teachers, particularly female teachers, wear bright/glittery clothes on duty in government schools. Many female teachers wear jeans and top, and many types of provocative and fashionable clothes on duty.....which has an effect on the students,” read the instructions.
According to HT, Shukla said he had heard that the government was initiating action against them, denying any fault or intention to embarrass it. "Someone had complained to the chief minister in writing regarding teachers not coming to schools dressed properly. The complaint letter was marked to the department. There were already instructions sent to the districts on this in 2012 and endorsed in 2014. The instructions were simply reiterated. There was probably an oversight. We should have checked with the government,” he said.
After issuing the order, Amarbir Singh had told The Indian Express that "jeans and tops are indecent and not part of Punjabi culture”. "They can wear suits, but there has to be a proper dupatta,” he said. "Even saris are okay, but not jeans and tops. Teachers are role models for children and they have to wear something which keeps the body completely covered.”