Perception of Mandatory School Uniform and Perceived Social Cohesion Developed among Students in Malaysia

Woo Jhia Mae*, Tam Cai Lian, Gregory Bonn
Monash University Malaysia, Malaysia
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia


The current study aimed to explore Malaysian students’ perception of the national school uniforms and to investigate the relationship it has towards perceived social cohesion. A total of N = 192 college and university students from Johor, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang who had undergone and completed primary and secondary education in Malaysia were randomly selected to participate in the study. Participants completed a questionnaire that included a five-point Likert-type response scale to measure students’ level of agreement with the statement of their perception of school uniform and perceived social cohesion. Overall, students were neutral to somewhat positive about the national school uniforms in terms of tidiness, affordability, and comfort, however, they did not find them to be attractive. Independent sample t-test revealed that female students generally have a more positive perception of their school uniform compared to male students. No significant differences were found between male and female students in their overall perceived social cohesion. Pearson’s product-moment correlation found a significant positive relationship between students’ perception of their school uniform and perceived social cohesion. Results obtained from the induction content analysis suggested the symbolic discourse of the school uniform that represents and reflects the experiences and interaction students have with their peers, stakeholders, and school environment. Recommendations for future research to be conducted to obtain a richer understanding of school uniform and perceived social cohesion for different Malaysian student demographic categories. The current study hoped to act as a stepping stone for Malaysian educators and school policymakers to understand the perceived social cohesion amongst Malaysian students and how these experiences may contribute to the benefit of a better school climate.


school uniform, school uniform perception, perceived social cohesion

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