St Aloysius College Bans Burkha in Classroom

St Aloysius College,Mangalore has passed a rule prohibiting  students from wearing burkha inside the classroom. The rule has been included in the prospectus and will come into effect from the next academic year.

College faculty said that the rule prohibits students from wearing burkha only inside the classroom, and not in the campus. Burkha will not be allowed during examinations also.

However, they are allowed to wear headscarf at all times, even in the classroom, he added.

The new rule comes in the wake of an incident wherein a girl student was caught cheating during the last semester exams. The girl had allegedly hidden six foot-rulers inside her burkha, with answers written all over them. The girl later left the college even though she had been asked to return.

Also, the rule is in place to ensure that all students adhere to uniforms designated to each of the departments. It is said that many students wear burkha in the classroom, which hides the uniform and thus violates the dress code. However, as per the new rule, they are allowed to wear headscarf along with the uniform.

campus minister Fr Francis Almeida reiterated that from the next academic year, students will not be allowed to wear burkha in the classroom and during examinations. “They should not cover their faces or wear burkha during the class. But they can wear headscarf and also come in burkha to the college,” he said.

Reacting to the step, a Muslim student in the college, who did not want to be identified, told that there was nothing good about the rule. “When T-shirt was banned earlier, it was a good step as it is not a decent way to dress in a co-ed college. But what is wrong in wearing burkha which covers the whole body?” she said.

When told about the copying incident, she agreed that it was fine to form such a rule to avoid malpractice, but that banning it in classroom did not make sense.

She further said, “In St Aloysius, there are hardly 10-15 students who wear burkha to college, though many wear headscarf. Out of them, less than 8 students wear burkha full time…others remove it as soon as they enter the campus. Such a small number of students should not have attracted such a rule.”

A lecturer in the college said that educational institutions in the region expect the students to adhere to the dress code. Burkha is banned in some of the other institutions also, he added.

The dress code for Muslim students has been raging debate over the recent years. Last August, a student in Moodbidri’s Jain College had to stop attending classes for not being allowed to wear headscarf. The incident had snowballed into a major controversy, with the girl approaching higher authorities for justice. In another incident in 2009, Sri Venkataramana Swamy (SVS) Degree College, Bantwal took a similar action against one of its students, but later compromised and allowed her to wear headscarf.

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