Newspaper clipping The Northglen News 25 July 2008

No marks for smutty dress - Department of Education investigates dress code for teachers

By Michelle Dennis

Teachers may get black marks for wearing revealing outfits to school if a dress code is introduced.

A dress code was mooted when the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and the KZN Parents Association said they were not happy with the way some teachers dressed.

The Department of Education has asked the South African Council of Educators to investigate a dress code for teachers. Principal at Northlands Girls High School, Ann Vat said:
            “First impressions count. Girls do notice what you wear and do want you to be smart. The impressions you create with what you wear will give you the response you do or do not want from the learner, “ she said.
            “At Northlands Girls High School new staff members receive a copy of our dress code in their ‘welcome package’.”

Maryna Hobel, principal of Durban North College said she and her staff do have a dress code they follow.
            “One must remember that times have changed and that fashion and styles change all the time. For example, I do not think a lot of female teachers wear hosiery today, let alone neutral-toned hosiery. Yes, guidelines are needed. I feel strongly that teachers should set an example to learners and dress in such a way that it enhances the dignity and status of the teaching profession,” Hobel said.

            “Employers and employees alike must remember that (rightly or wrongly) people make all kinds of assessments based on appearance, assessments that are often consciously or unconsciously transferred onto the organization, “ said marketing officer of Danville Park Girls High School, Jacci Lewis.
            “The teaching profession has recently come under scrutiny for its dress code or lack thereof! Teachers should bear in mind that what they wear may well influence the attitudes of both the children and their parents towards them and their perceived competence,” she said.
            “High school teachers, especially in co-educational schools, must be particularly careful of the image they project by their apparel. At the other end of the sartorial scale, corporate suits in the classroom might convey aloofness while ‘fuddy-duddy’ fashions could add a few feet to the generation gap. Teachers need a wardrobe of functional fashion that falls between the boringly bland and the outrageously ‘out there’.”

CEO of the National Professional Teachers Association of South Africa, Andy Pearce said there is no dress code policy in place just yet.
            “Views need to be expressed and the matter discussed,” he said.