If the latest government circular comes into effect, lecturers and principals of all degree colleges in the State will have to follow a uniform dress code.

N.S. Channappa Gowda, Commissioner of Collegiate Education, issued a circular on Wednesday asking principals of all colleges to impose a dress code for the teaching staff after holding a discussion with them. The Commissioner, who took charge recently, said in the circular that during his recent visits to colleges he felt the need to have a uniform dress code for principals and lectures to ensure discipline and equality on the campus.

“If the uniform dress code is implemented for the teaching staff, status of the college will go up, it will help in identifying teachers, bring in discipline on the campus…, though there is no such rule,” he said. The circular, however, is not clear about what should be the dress code and from when it should come into effect.

The circular has attracted strong criticism from a section of teachers.

Opposing the dress code, T.M. Manjunath, president of the Karnataka College Teachers’ Association (KGCTA), said: “When there is no uniform dress code for students in degree colleges, where is the need for such a rule for teachers? This is against the very idea of higher education. The Commissioner has issued the circular without taking the association into confidence,” he said.

M. Madhumathi, vice-president of KGCTA, who also opposed it, said: “The existing rules say teachers should dress decently. I don’t think anybody is ignoring it.” If at all there was a need of a uniform dress code for lecturers, only the University Grants Commission should look into it. A lecturer said the idea of dress code was to restrict lecturers, particularly women, from wearing jeans or salwar kameez. “Though there is no such rule, women lecturers in many colleges have been asked to wear saris. The new circular will help the heads of institutions to impose the unwritten rule more seriously,” she said.

Many colleges have already introduced uniform dress code in some way.

I.M. Mohan, principal of Government Arts College in Hassan, said the circular issued by the Commissioner was only a “suggestion”. There was no instruction to impose the uniform mandatorily. “In our college the system is already in effect, though partially. All male lecturers dress formally, complete with tie and coat. Women lecturers wear blazers on saris. Though there is no rule as such to follow it mandatorily, they have been following it to bring dignity to the campus,” he said.

A lecturer said: “Every individual has his or her own choice when it comes to dressing. The very idea that discipline can be ensured through a dress code is unacceptable,” he said.

More In: Karnataka | National