Controversial dress code for female teachers withdrawn by Punjab government after criticism

Chandigarh:  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. The circular, which was issued to all circle education officers and district education officers, cited complaints received by the department regarding the “bright outfits” worn by women teachers.

“In government schools, teachers, especially lady teachers, are wearing bright dresses while being on duty. Some teachers wear jeans, tops and several types of ‘provocative’fashionable dresses when they are on duty. It has an effect on students,” said the order.

“Therefore, the dress code should be implemented in government schools and regular checking should be done to ensure implementation of the order,” it said. Condemning the Congress-led state government for issuing such a diktat, Davinder Punia, General Secretary, the Democratic Teachers Front said, “The language used in the order is intolerable for teachers. This is not the way such directions should be passed on to the teachers. We strongly condemn this order.”

Meanwhile, Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary suspended Deputy Director Amrish Shukla and Assistant Director Amarbir Singh of the department.

The minister said the ‘controversial’ order containing “denigrating” language about female teachers was issued without proper authorization.

She said the two officials issued the order without taking the higher authorities into confidence. She made it clear that any affront to the dignity of the ‘nation builder’ teaching community would not be tolerated, adding that such a mindset needed to be condemned in this age of women empowerment. The minister added that the order has been withdrawn.