High heels for higher learning?

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A scandal is bubbling between the Rector of the Tajik State Pedagogical University, Abdujabbor Rahmonov, and the only vocal national newspaper (inasmuch as it can be vocal in Tajikistan), Asia-Plus. The reason? The rector’s decision to impose a supplementary dress code on female students requiring them to wear high heeled shoes (though only up to 10cm high) and clothes made of single-block colour [ru].

I read through Asia-Plus’ latest reportage on the situation with complete bewilderment. Could it really be that the Rector believes that ordering such a dress code (which is much more explicit than the national dress code for university students) – and having security guards at the entrance of the university checking this in what in Russian is called face control – will enhance female students’ learning experience? Will it make them smarter or better equipped to learn?

Of course, the answer is no.

This is not the first time Abdujabbor Rahmonov has interfered in such affairs. As Minister of Education, he introduced a dress code into schools which included such rules as banning male teachers from having beards.

The worrying part of what would otherwise be simply a farce is that the Asia-Plus journalist who attempted to ascertain whether the university really had imposed this enhanced dress code by interviewing female students wound up in the local police station. The Rector then requested that the police investigate [ru] what he calls the ‘incorrect and illegal actions of the journalist’, allegedly so because Rahmonov happened to appear in the background of some of the journalist’s photos (she explains that he was driving in to the university when she was taking photos of the female students she had been interviewing). The good news is that the police have decided not to take the request forward [ru], as they don’t believe that the journalist had been breaking the law.

Public reaction on Asia-Plus’ Facebook page [ru/tj] has been one of both outrage, disbelief and lack of surprise. Here’s a typical (repeatable!) quote: “Where is Tajikistan and its government heading? Rather than starting with high heels… it would be better to strengthen teaching, stop bribe-taking and simply give students the chance to study…”

14 thoughts on “High heels for higher learning?

    […] Sabzalieva writes about the controversy surrounding a dress code introduced recently at a university in Dushanbe, […]

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    Alexander Sodiqov said:
    April 6, 2013 at 02:51

    Tajikistan: ‘High Heels for Higher Learning’

    Emma Sabzalieva writes about the controversy surrounding a dress code introduced recently at a university in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The dress code requires that female students wear high heeled shoes and single-block color clothes to classes. The blogger asks:

    “Could it really be that the rector believes that ordering such a dress code will enhance female students’ learning experience? Will it make them smarter or better equipped to learn?”

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/04/06/tajikistan-high-heels-for-higher-learning/

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    […] n’est pas la première fois que de telles mesures sont imposées au Tadjikistan. Alors qu’il était ministre de l’Education, Rakhmonov Abdujabbor avait mis en place des tenues vestimentaires dans les écoles. Il était […]

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    […] shoes are to be no more than 10 cm (or about 4 inches), Emma Sabzalieva writes on her blog, which focuses on higher education in Central Asia, a subject she researches. Sabzalieva, who […]

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    […] registrar Emma Sabzalieva, whose blog Sabzalieva examines higher education in Central Asia, took a look at a school in Tajikistan where […]

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    Des talons hauts à l’école said:
    April 17, 2013 at 18:11

    […] doivent être pas plus de 10 cm (soit environ 4 pouces), Emma Sabzalieva écrit sur ​​son blogue , qui se concentre sur l’enseignement supérieur en Asie centrale, un sujet qu’elle […]

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    High heels hit the headlines | Emma Sabzalieva said:
    April 23, 2013 at 13:45

    […] previous post High heels for higher learning seems to have captured the imagination of news agencies around the world. I’ve had pingbacks […]

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    marquasonit said:
    May 21, 2013 at 20:03

    what is a nice comment.high heels would be better to strengthen teaching, stop bribe-taking and simply give students the chance to study.

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    […] leaders and fashion? Not content with the controversy this caused last year (see my articles high heels for higher learning and high heels hit the headlines), the Pro-Rector of the Tajik Pedagogical University has followed […]

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    […] shoes are to be no more than 10 cm (or about 4 inches), Emma Sabzalieva writes on her blog, which focuses on higher education in Central Asia, a subject she researches. Sabzalieva, who […]

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    A Central Asian year in review | Emma Sabzalieva said:
    December 23, 2015 at 19:16

    […] The first gift is a link to my most read post of all time, which has since been featured in news stories in media around the world, High heels for higher learning, from April 2013: https://sabzalieva.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/high-heels-for-higher-learning/ […]

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    […] several news agencies (Huffington Post, El Pais Spain, Yahoo Canada) following up on a story on high heels for higher learning in Tajikistan (see also here and here) and the blog was recognized earlier this year by The Guardian in the UK […]

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    […] only applies to female students [ru]. Once again, it seems to be the women who get the dress code at university. Apparently, some educational institutions might take this ruling even further. […]

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