France to try out school uniforms in bid to reduce bullying and inequality

When some French schools reopen in September this year, they will pilot a mandatory school uniform under a two-year trial period initiated by Education Minister Gabriel Attal. The initiative aims to tackle inequality among French students and reduce bullying and peer pressure. But some public school teachers, psychologists, and experts remain skeptical, saying the uniforms are just putting a “plaster” on such issues.

Two navy blue polo shirts – one short-sleeved, another covered in a jumper – are draped over mannequins on a stage. Embroidered across the chest is a tiny, rectangular French flag on the right and the words “La Région, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes” on the left.

Gleaming with pride, Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council in southeast France, announced that these are prototypes of school uniforms to be rolled out in five local high schools.

Hours later, the hardliner of the conservative Les Républicains party posted a photo of the somber outfits on X and informed his followers that the council wanted the uniforms to be “100% made by regional textile companies”.

The polo shirts would be tried out in five high schools in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes at the start of the school year in September 2024, he said, adding that the move was “sustainable and good for jobs”.

But many local high schoolers on social media did not appear to share his enthusiasm. Some took to TikTok to mock what they called an unflattering and embarrassingly unstylish ensemble.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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