Afghan school girls in Uniform - 2014
(Afghan school girls in Uniform – 2014)

School girls in Afghanistan have complained about the colour of their school uniforms. They are asking the government and schools to change the typical, black dress and white scarf to a colour that does not absorb the heat and is less depressing.

During the 1970’s, women and girls in Afghanistan attired themselves in Western clothing. This meant mini-skirts, no headscarves and stunning hair styles. Girls who attended schools and universities dressed in modern clothing including high heels, all of which was banned during the rule of the Taliban.

(Afghan school girls- 1970)

After many years of no education for girls, Afghanistan now has thousands of girls attending schools. Education in Afghanistan includes K-12 and higher education. Currently Afghanistan is in the process of rebuilding. Despite the challenges faced by Afghans daily, the country is still moving forward and working towards a brighter and a better tomorrow.

The numbers of schools are increasing fast in Afghanistan. Since the fall of the Taliban in the year 2001, By 2006, more than 4 million public schools such as; Habibia High School, one of the oldest schools in Afghanistan, Amani High School and Lycee Esteqlal have been opened.

Private schools in Afghanistan have uniform like schools in England, including blazers, jeans, skirts, shirts and ties for both girls and boys as part of uniform. But for public schools it is different. It is required of all the girls to wear a black, long, shapeless dress and a white head scarf.

It has been reported that some girls have fainted in classes because of the heat absorbed by their uniforms. Many have complained that not only are the uniforms head absorbing but that they are also hideous.

A 16-year-old girl, Marjan says her black school uniform makes the heat of the Kabul summer unbearable. She said, “The education minister is sitting in an air conditioned office. What does he know about the conditions we’re in, or how hot these black clothes get?”

A seventh-grade pupil from the Ariana High School said. “Believe me, we see girls fainting every day in the summer. The sole reason is that black makes your body temperature rise uncontrollably.”

The colours black and light green were traditionally the main options for schoolgirls, but now the former is usually required. The choice to have black as uniform also seems to be influenced by perceptions of modesty.

Abdol Monir Negah, who is the education ministry’s academic council, said, “First, schoolgirls must be distinguishable from others. Secondly, black conceals the beauty and features of girls and women from the eyes of men. They don’t attract attention.”

School teachers have agreed to the change in uniforms. Shirin, who has been a teacher for 12 years and works for Alem Faizzada High School, said blue or grey would make a far better choice. She said, “I was a pupil myself once. I’ve been through the same experience. I know how badly wearing black affects the pupils both physically and psychologically.”


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