School Uniform: Equality and Inclusion Policies in South Africa

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About this sample


Words: 1034 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 1034|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Inclusive School Uniform Policy
  3. Importance of Equality in School Uniform Policies
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


All Citizens of South Africa have the rights to freedom of expression, cultural and spiritual beliefs, which should be respected. In South Africa, the public schools, leadership committee needs clear proposals as to, how to respect and honour the rights and equality of every citizen, according to the south African Constitution that pledges the fundamental right of all scholars, following the school uniform, equality regulations included (Waal, Mestry and Russo 2011). The school governing body and committee members find it difficult to follow school uniform policy as it needs to adhere to the south African constitutional rights (Waal, Mestry and Russo 2011). This essay agrees to a greater extent that the school's uniform policy should be made inclusive of religion and culture therefore the school uniform policy should allow learners to follow their cultural upbringing. This essay will firstly discuss, the constitutional right to freedom of religious expression in relation to the school’s uniform policy; Secondly, discrimination in schools based on religion; thirdly, the importance of children knowing they rights and lastly, policies that school principals and governing body can suggest and put in place for parents and learners to bring respect and honour to the school and still adhere to the constitutional rights.

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Inclusive School Uniform Policy

It is vital for the development and unity of our country that schools set fair limitation towards learners. “Every child in South Africa has the right education” (Government gazette 1996:14);it is agreed, it is argued and it has been proven to be a successful factor towards the development of our multi-cultural nation, when south Africans unite there will be an out pouring of success. The South African constitutional right School Act protects the freedom of expression and religion at public schools. They clearly protect learners’ rights to religious, cultural dress and hairstyles (Alston, Staden and Pretorius 2003:163). Regardless of how improper the school committee may find these rights, they are made and need to be followed, as there have been thoroughly thought out by influential leaders’ Constitutional law must be implemented by all south African citizens.

'All laws which discriminate on grounds of race, colour of belief shall be repealed” (Eds. Asmal, chidester & Lubisi 2005:130). Discrimination is when a learner is solely judged because of their religion, belief and freedom of expression. E.g. “A schoolboys culture compels him to follow his Xhosa rituals and wear a dress. So, he approached his principal with his request. An agreement was made whereby the learner could wear his Xhosa traditional uniform to and from the school but would change into school uniform once inside the building and change out of uniform at the end of the school day. During breaks he was permitted to remain within the buildings. This learner had the fear of being victimised or attacked by his peers. this is disrespect towards the Xhosa culture and an insult to the learner's pride and cultural heritage (Alston, Staden and Pretorius 2003:165). This learner is being unfairly discriminated at school. The Equality Act protects religious conviction, therefore no south African shall be discriminated against because of their beliefs or cultural uniform (Eds. Asmal, chidester & Lubisi 2005:130). Educators play a vital role in the development of learners, when a learner attends a school, he/she finds a second home, a learner should not be judged on they upbringing even when it may seem unethical. Schools should take a stand today to embrace our unique diversity. There is a lot to see and a lot to learn.

Importance of Equality in School Uniform Policies

If wearing an attire, such as yarmulkes and headscarves, is part of the religious practice (Alston, Staden and Pretorius 2003:163). Schools must respect that, if a learner chooses not to wear it due to being victimised of feel like an outcast, than schools can suggest they may still wear they traditional outfits on the day of celebration. Just by wearing school uniforms cannot solve all the problems of school discipline, but that can be one positive contributing factor to discipline and safety. Schools should use other initiatives, in union with uniforms. School Governing Bodies should be more sensitive and consider the school community when designing a new school uniform. Parents should be informed and involved in decisions, as they support will be important to a successful adoption of the new uniform. A school uniform policy should consider religious and cultural diversity (Currie and De Waal. 2005). School Governing Bodies need to include more detailed information that is aimed at ensuring that schools create and maintain dress codes for scholars that do not go beyond any of their constitutional rights. As scholars are obliged to abide by the Code of Conduct and need to understand the contents of it, which should include; a document clearly emphasising the expected conduct and the discipline process for non-obeisance. The courts should advise schools to develop fewer limiting rules and to follow viewpoint-neutral policies (Waal, Mestry and Russo 2011).

Many parents are unaware of their south African right; therefore, learners are not knowledgeable and are prone to many disadvantages. Schools need to draw up a sperate contract on school’s uniformity rights pertaining to the South African constitutional rights, so there is no confusion between learner, parent and educators. By knowing these rights, it can be profitable, or it could lead to destruction all depends on the nature of the situation.

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In conclusion, every scholar has the right to freedom of expression, after everything that has been discussed in this essay, there should be no school that would deny a learner’s right. South Africa protects the constitution rights, and we need to abide by it.


  1. Alston K.G, Staden van J.G, Pretorius J.L. 2003. “The constitutional right to freedom of expression: How enforceable are school dress codes?”. SAJE .23(3):163-167. [Online]. Available at:
  2. Asmal, K. Chidester, D. Lubisi, C.(eds),2005. Legacy of freedom: The ANC’S human rights tradition. Johannesburg & Cape town: Jonathan Ball Publishers.
  3. Government gazette.1996 Constitution of the republic of South Africa. [online]. Available at: Cape town.
  4. Currie I and De Waal J. 2005. “The Bill of Rights Handbook” 5th Edition. Cape Town: Juta &​ Company.
  5. Waal DE E, Mestry R and Russo C.J. 2011. ‘Religious and cultural dress at school: A comparative perspective’. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal.14(6):1727-3781. [Online]. Available at: 
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Cite this Essay

School Uniform: Equality and Inclusion Policies in South Africa. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from
“School Uniform: Equality and Inclusion Policies in South Africa.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
School Uniform: Equality and Inclusion Policies in South Africa. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2023].
School Uniform: Equality and Inclusion Policies in South Africa [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2023 Nov 29]. Available from:
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