Frugal Foreigner: School Uniforms

If you’re new to my posts, read all about what we’re doing in India here! You can read all previous posts in the series here.

You might be surprised to learn that all Indian children wear uniforms.  I should say students, not children, because if you’re in , you’re in uniform.  Public , private , international , military , preschool, nursery, college, university, medical , veterinary – they all have uniforms.

The variety of school uniforms I’ve seen here is much greater than the jumpers, skorts, khakis and polos we have in the US.  Some of the wear ties and jackets.  Some girls wear skirts or jumpers, some wear shorts.  Girls in the military schools (with military parents) wear a salwar chemise – loose pants, a long kurta, and a neatly pressed scarf.

School uniforms also vary in color a lot more than in the US.  Indians are not afraid of color.  On certain days, they wear uniforms of all white, which seems silly on a young child in such a dirty city.  I’ve seen groups of boys wearing purple shorts and hot pink polo shirts, and friends each wearing a different color of the rainbow according to their class.

The picture on the right is my cousin’s son, who is attending preschool in Japan.  He has the same kind of satchel backpack many of the younger Indian students use.  Most of the girls wear their hair in two braids, looped up and tied with ribbons.  And all the students wear an ID card around their neck.

Kids only get three sets of uniforms, so it’s not really any more expensive than buying them clothes.

My kids aren’t in school yet.  I’m often questioned about that here, because in India, most children start school at age 2.   In my inexperienced opinions, uniforms are a good idea.  But I’m not so sure about putting a tie on a two year old.

What is your opinion on school uniforms?

Related Forum Discussions:


  1. Cynthia Joshua says

    Love love uniforms – I would have peaceful mornings. It is also a way of making all the kids feel as one – no difference between the rich and the poor. No brand named clothing, no marketing gimmicks. No one day sales for clothes etc. I think uniforms are the best!

  2. alisha says

    My daughter goes to a private preschool in Ohio and they were uniforms. Love it! No fighting in the morning and can buy the used ones from the bookstore cheap!

  3. Nicole says

    Love school uniforms! As mentioned above it puts everyone on an even playing field. They aren’t being judged by what brand name clothing they are wearing and the kids don’t have to focus at all on fashion, at least while they are in school learning. So many argue that uniforms don’t allow kids to show individuality but I would say your childrens clothes don’t usually show so much of their personality but rather the amount of money you have or have chosen to spend on your child’s clothes. Uniforms force people to look at the person beyond the clothes. 🙂

  4. Teresa says

    My son goes to a private school where uniforms are required. I love it. Yes, there is additional expense, but we buy fewer play clothes too. There are also plenty of opportunities to buy good, used uniforms at consignment sales and uniform sales. It makes the mornings so much easier and quicker to get dressed and out the door. At our school, there are still plenty of options, so it isn’t necessarily the same style shirt/pants/shorts every day. There are also less restrictions for the younger children. Every once in awhile there is a “dress down” day where kids can wear jeans/t-shirts.

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