IN PROUD PAKISTAN a provincial government recently issued and then took back a directive about imposing abaya/burqa or chaddar on all girls coming to and going from [government] schools in some of its districts.

From time to time, a number of public - and - private sector universities have issued guidelines and/or rules for dress codes, usually for women, disallowing jeans, tights. T-shirts, etc on campus.

There have been circulars even on the distance that young men and women are supposed to maintain between themselves even when talking to each other. Some circulars have even tried to minimise or eliminate male and female interactions and conversations.

A recent example was the circular from a university, doing the rounds on social media, asking concerned faculty and departments to ensure that classes are scheduled in a way that students should not have any 'free' or unstructured time between classes.

It advised that the schedules should also make sure that even the distances students have to move between classes are minimised.

Both of these directives are not really to ensure ease for students; they are to ensure that students do not have the time and opportunity to interact with each other outside of class.

The circular also instructed the faculty to ensure that the number of assignments given to students are increased to the point that students are kept as busy as possible and would not have time for socialising.

These attempts at managing dress, interaction, socialisation and other activities do not stem from the perspective of reducing harassment and/or ensuring a higher quality education - they are actually attempts to police minds.

They are attempts at trying to dictate what students should and can think, and how they should and can act.

But they are also coming from a place of deep distrust in young people : the youth cannot be trusted to manage their own social lives and they are not be trusted with unstructured time.

Most importantly, these directives are ways to ensuring that what the youth in society should or should not think. Unlike by what is said by many. I do not think these directives have a lot to do with culture and traditions, or attempts at conserving them.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on the distrust of young people, continues.

The World Students Society thanks author Dr. Faisal Bari, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives, and an associate professor of economics at LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!