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Wearing success on their sleeves

Donning that same uniform day after day, for more than a decade of schooling, can obviously get monotonous. Any change in uniform, even if it’s only a slight variation, is more than welcome. Several schools across Delhi offer this chance — but it has to be earned, by way of outstanding performances in academics, sports, and extra-curricular activities.

delhi Updated: Dec 19, 2011 01:30 IST
Nilesh Pinto

Donning that same uniform day after day, for more than a decade of schooling, can obviously get monotonous. Any change in uniform, even if it’s only a slight variation, is more than welcome. Several schools across Delhi offer this chance — but it has to be earned, by way of outstanding performances in academics, sports, and extra-curricular activities.

Be it different coloured blazers, ties or badges, those performing well can walk the school corridors with their heads held high (depending on the consistency of their success). For example, the Delhi Public Schools (DPS) across the capital are strong believers in this form of rewarding students. While the blue blazer is given for academic achievements, the red blazer is awarded for sporting success, and the grey blazer is worn for outstanding performances in extra-curricular activities. “It is motivational and creates a competitive spirit,” says Sunita Tanwar, principal, DPS Dwarka. Outstanding students at Modern School, Barakhamba Road can proudly adorn blazers emblazoned with gilded pockets.

Some schools go the extra mile. Take St. Columba’s School in central Delhi for example. One graduating senior is singled out for his/her qualities that ‘epitomise the spirit of the school’ and is handed an actual sword — the ‘Sword of Honour’. The most notable recipient: none other than Shah Rukh Khan. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/191211/19-12-11-metro11b.jpg

But then again, all schools don’t subscribe to this system of rewarding excellence. Some feel uniform changes are not required as there is sufficient recognition of student's achievements — by handing out trophies, certificates, gold medals, in addition to felicitating the outstanding student at the school assembly. Some principals reject the idea altogether, stating that it could lead to arrogance, while others feel it creates unnecessary segregation.

“Academic distinctions create a different class. The superiority complex should be done away with. We don't need it,” said Sanjay Bhardwaj, officiating principal at Gyan Bharati School, Saket.

Students who wear these distinctive uniforms have divided opinions on whether such visible representations of their achievements may lead them to feel ‘lonely at the top’. “There is a sense of pride associated with earning these badges of honour. It serves as a motivation tool, as students aspire to stand- out from the crowd. They identify it as a goal," says Sahil Grover, student council head at Ryan International School, Mayur Vihar. His schoolmate, Sanchita Mohindru, on the other hand, rejects this notion. “While earning the honour is something to be proud of, it could possibly lead to problems, as some students might feel inferior to their peers,” she said.