"Islamic" uniforms for elementary school children in Yogyakarta
by Mathias Hariyadi

The blouses for girls are longer than normal and are paired with a hijab. The school headmistress justified the dress code saying that all 127 pupils are Muslim. Eventually, the order was dropped but not without sparking controversy. For one parent, the code goes against the country’s idea of unity in diversity.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Islamic-inspired uniforms for pupils imposed by the head of an elementary school in Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta special region, have been scrapped, but the issue continues to be topical.

On 18 June, the headmistress Ms Pujiastuti issued a new dress code ahead of the new school year, which begins next month.

In her order (pictured), she draws what students at the SDN Karangtengah III school must wear, namely two uniforms boys and girls, one for the classroom, and one for scouting trips.

The principal’s order specified that only first-year pupil would be required to wear the new Islamic clothes, whilst those from grade two to six would be required in the coming years.

Slammed as "discriminatory", the dress code came under immediate criticism. Polls indicate that many Indonesians are upset by the girl’s uniforms, which include a long blouse and a hijab.

For the school principal, the dress code is justified because all 127 pupils at the school are Muslim. However, the regency school monitoring agency told her to change policy in a letter sent yesterday, noting that it must be clearly indicated that the new dress code will only apply to Muslim pupils.

After the controversy ended up on social media, one woman, identified as Rini, with a daughter in the school, complained that the dress code is not conducive to an atmosphere of tolerance in school.

For her, such a dress code goes against the country’s idea of unity in diversity. What is worse is that this is happening in a government school.

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