The Thimphu Thromde has relaxed the tracksuit rule by a day and decided to allow students in the capital to wear tracksuits on Fridays and Saturdays, but not on other days.
According to earlier directives students were allowed to wear tracksuits only on Saturday during their health and physical education (HPE) classes.
But students and principals complained that conducting HPE classes for all students on the same day was challenging.
Students and parents also went to the media and social media challenging the basis of the Thimphu Thromde’s order.
“So, we decided that students can also have their HPE classes on Fridays especially for private schools because most of the private schools close on Saturday,” said the Thromde’s deputy chief education officer, Namgay Dorji.
“Although having a sports uniform is a great way to develop team spirit and encourage students to be organized and prepared for physical education, sports and exercise, it is not mandatory to wear sports uniform because some students cannot afford it and it was never mentioned that tracksuit is a HPE dress code.”
Namgay Dorji said Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School was the first School in Thimphu to wear tracksuits in 2008, followed by other schools, both private and government.
This was based on a letter dated March 5, 2007, from the Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) which said that considering the difficulties students face with school uniform while playing games, students could wear sports attire on the day they have Health and Physical Education (HPE) classes and students can also wear their sports uniform on sports day.
According to Namgay Dorji some parents suggested that it should not be mandatory for students to wear tracksuits as HPE dress code. Given the warm weather, shorts and T-shirts would be the best HPE attire, some parents said. Also tracksuits were expensive, especially for the low-income group.
Namgay, who has three sons, said he would prefer shorts and T-shirts as HPE uniform because he has to buy six sets of tracksuits.
A thromde official said wearing the school uniform, Gho and kira, is a badge of pride and it creates an identity for the schools. “While imposing upon people to wear formal dress would be against fundamental rights, it is also a legal right to preserve our culture,” he said. “That is why parking fee collectors were also asked to wear Gho,” the official added.