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Some students allowed to go to school in clothes that are not so uniform

WHILE "Dress Down Fridays" are common at commercial companies, an increasing number of junior colleges (JCs) here have also latched on to the practice.
The Straits Times - March 6, 2013
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Some students allowed to go to school in clothes that are not so uniform

Out of the 18 JCs surveyed by The Straits Times, at least 14 have set aside a certain day of the week when students do not have to wear the full school uniform.

At Anderson Junior College, that day is Friday. The initiative is called "i-Friday", with the "i" representing student ownership in choosing what to wear.

Students broached the idea in April last year, and it took off three months later when they were allowed to wear class and co-curricular activity (CCA) T-shirts approved by the school.

Mr Ng Hock Soon, the college's spokesman, said: "They can choose their own materials, colours and designs for the shirts. We just must be able to identify that it is our college shirt, by having the school name on it."

A spokesman for Temasek Junior College, which gave the green light to such flexibility in the early 2000s, said: "There are many creative designers among our students, who incorporate humour, imagination, wit as well as the identity of their class and CCA into the T-shirt designs."

She noted that even the teachers discuss with their students who may opt for a particular T-shirt on casual Fridays to express support for their class or CCA.

Late last year, Nanyang Junior College even increased the number of dress down days to four times a week.

Monday is the only day when students have to wear their full uniform.

The practice has also caught on with Integrated Programme schools, where students bypass the O levels to sit the A levels at the end of six years.

River Valley High School's student council proposed a Thank Goodness It's Friday move that allowed students from years one to six to wear school-based shirts.

Student Sophia Goh, 15, said: "Dress down days encourage self-expression. It helps us learn in a more relaxed manner and makes it a change from our hectic lifestyles.

"It's more comfortable for us as we're in our own skin and what we wear represents who we are."

But other schools like Innova Junior College and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) do not see the need for dressing down. A spokesman for HCI said: "The students are comfortable enough in their uniforms and the issue has never cropped up for us."

And while Yishun Junior College supports the dressing down idea, it allows students to don only PE attire on these occasions.

A spokesman said: "We still need to standardise what they wear so it looks neat. We don't want it to become messy when students wear all kinds of shirts."

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