The vast majority of students in France do not wear uniforms – and the schools that do are usually private religious schools or military schools.
However, this could change as the new Minister of Education, Gabriel Attal, has announced that he wants to set up a pilot project for uniforms in certain schools.
He told RTL radio: “I am very much in favor of a trial to move the debate forward. The best way to get an idea is to test things in schools. »
He added that he didn’t think uniforms were a “silver bullet” but the idea was worth trying.
He pitched an idea that a selection of schools would start testing uniforms, with further details of the experiment to be announced “in the fall”.
The idea of a school uniform is particularly popular with right-wing and far-right politicians and several politicians, including the president of Les Républicains Eric Ciotti and the far-right mayor of Béziers Robert Ménard, have called for the introduction of a uniform in schools.
It’s an old debate, but the latest cycle takes place against the backdrop of Attal’s decision to ban the long, loose robe known as the abaya.
He claims that this garment is associated with Islam and therefore contravenes the country’s secularism laws which prohibit the wearing of religious clothing in schools. However, the Muslim Council of France claims that this garment is worn by people of all faiths in the Middle East and much of Africa.
READ ALSO Why the abaya is at the center of the latest dispute over secularism in France
The abaya rule is to be applied when schools return from September 4, with the Education Ministry saying 513 schools are “potentially” affected.
Proponents of the uniform say it would prevent such problems and tackle inequality.
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