Taiwan's Uniform Regulations Loosened Again, Students Not Rejoicing

Taiwan's Uniform Regulations Loosened Again, Students Not Rejoicing
Photo Credit: elmimmo, CC BY 2.0

What you need to know

Students say the government needs to tackle a few problems before the amendments can be effective.

School uniform regulations in Taiwan have been further loosened following amendments in June that stipulated schools are no longer allowed to record punishments given to students based on their apparel in their official record.

Deputy Minister of Education Tsai Ching-hwa (蔡清華) announced today that high school students will be allowed to mix and match their uniforms, gym suits, and any other attire approved by each school starting this September.

However, students will still be required to dress according to school regulations under certain circumstances, such as at graduations, weekly assemblies, internships, and in science labs.

High school students can also choose to wear summer or winter uniforms. Schools should moreover allow students to wear any extra clothing, such as sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, and hoodies, if needed.

As for shoes, Tsai said unless they have specific reasons, students should still wear leather shoes or gym shoes to school. Schools are also prohibited from restricting students’ hairstyles.

However, some students are not rejoicing at the news.

Hsiao Chu-chun (蕭竹均), organizer of Free Your Uniform (服儀自由學生陣線), an online cause advocating for students to have full freedom in how they dress, told the Liberty Times today that the ministry’s announcement will be useless if the ministry fails to resolve several problems.

The organizer said the ministry needs to make sure every high school implements the new regulations, and that corrective action should be taken against the school that fail to do so. An effective complaint system for students should also be established, Hsiao said.

Hsiao said that while schools are not allowed to make official records of punishments meted out over a student’s attire, many schools have a system in which they punish students with community service and make an official record if a student is punished with community service three times.

The ministry said in June after the first amendments were made that the new regulations did not mean that school authorities would cease to monitor what students wore to school. Schools are still allowed to set dress codes through public hearings, student votes, and any other democratic mechanisms — as long as no punishment is recorded on students’ official records.

Hsiao says that while he is not satisfied with the amendments, they are still acceptable. Free Your Uniform still hopes high school students can have complete freedom in deciding what they wish to wear to school.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) voiced her support for loosening uniform regulations during last year's election campaign.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole