The Oxford University students’ union had issued a poll on the wearing of scholars’ gowns by undergraduates during examinations for which an overwhelming majority voted against the ban. The poll was held online on the unions’ site for two days after students raised the issue on the “inferior” and “elitist” notions that the gowns entailed.
Students with scholarships or better scores than other students have the permission to wear long-sleeve gowns during exams while all other students are required to wear sleeveless gowns, triggering a “stressful environment” with reminders that there are students who scored better in previous exams and preliminaries. Read | Top 10 universities in the world, click here
“It is perverse to deny those who have achieved academically the rewards of their success,” said student Thomas Munro in an article in the university newspaper ‘Cherwell’.
About 2126 students voted against the banning of the differential gowns in exams, while 1214 voted in favour of the motion. A total of 3373 students— 14 per cent of the student body— had participated in the poll.
“It was further suggested that scholars’ gowns, which cost £45, do not accurately represent academic achievement,” said Henry Straughan, another student at Oxford University. The gown had been prohibited in 2016 during viva voce exams to reduce bias by examiners who notice the gown. Read | Want to study abroad? Keep these 5 things in mind, click here
“The hierarchical gown structure is fundamentally in conflict with ideals of community and equality that the university espouses, all the more so because the division between those wearing scholars’ gowns and those wearing commoners gowns is visually striking,” students Tilda Agace, Isobel Cockburn and Taisie Tsikas had said adding that students were found to be more anxious and to lose confidence when they spotted a large group wearing the said gowns. The poll was hosted on students’ union website as a response to this argument.