Critics Demand Clarity and Equality in New Ministry of Education Hair Policy

Rear view of African girl with braided hair at studio

REAL NEWS: Ahead of the opening of schools for the 2023/2024 academic year, a
new policy to govern students’ hair will be implemented by the
Ministry of Education.

Almost every year, discussions have arisen about acceptable
hairstyles and hair length, in particular for male students, some of
whom wear ponytails while others sport dreadlocks.
Now, the Ministry of Education has put out its promised new
guidelines on students’ hair, and this will apply to all public schools
with immediate effect.

The Ministry says that school rules pertaining to hair should be
made within the framework provided and should not discriminate
against students based on the natural texture, length, or natural
colour of their hair.

Additionally, hair should be clean – that is, free of foul odour or
contagions; neat, groomed and orderly presented; not pose a health
risk to the student or others; and should not be a distraction to the
general school population.

Additionally, a general note for consideration is that schools should
refrain from developing rules that mention an exact hair length.
Officials say the document was created by the Ministry of Education,
following wide-ranging consultations that involved principals and
Parent/Teachers Associations.

Reportedly, this new policy was ratified by the Cabinet during its
meeting on Thursday, August 31.

According to the Cabinet, the rationale for the new policy is Section
49 of the Education Act, 2008, which authorizes public schools to
“introduce rules to govern the attire, conduct and discipline of
students”, as long as these rules have been approved by the director
of education.

Section 17(e) of the Act further stipulates that it is the student’s
responsibility to “observe standards approved by the Director of
Education or the principal, as the case may be, with respect to
cleanliness and tidiness of the person; general deportment; and

Meanwhile, critics are saying the guidelines are too general and
leave too much up to the principals’ discretion, while one
grandmother tells REAL News she was “expecting more and better”
than what obtained previously.

Last year, one parent even staged a one-man picket outside his son’s
secondary school, because the institution was insisting that the
boy’s hair be cut short. However, the father explained that the
child’s hair had to kept long because of a medical condition, and this
was confirmed by a doctor.

Another parent was given an ultimatum after having reportedly paid
school fees: Cut off her daughter’s dreadlocks or find her another
primary school.

While that situation occurred at a private, church-affiliated school,
hundreds of people weighed in against what they deemed to be the
discrimination and short-sightedness of the institution.

These are “real-life situations that need clear and definitive
statements,” the grandmother says, and she accuses the director of
education of “hiding behind words that sound good but say nothing.”

Further, she says, any policy from the Ministry of Education should
govern all schools, public and private.

“Parents should not have to find the kind of money that private
schools cost simply because the government schools have no
appreciation for their children’s race and culture,” she says. “That is

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  1. As a Rasta, i have no issue with full clarity stating natural hair is considered and to label the natural hair styles like locs that are based on cultural and religious beliefs. But then again this is coming from an institution that denied me employment because of the reason why I loc up my hair. The PS for the ministry of education sat in front of me and said and I quote “Well your resume and qualifications are outstanding and you will get no pushback because of that, but the only pushback you will get is the reason why you loc up your hair” after that I never heard back about my application as a school social worker/counselor lol But hey such is life. It’s funny i’m in racist Amerikkka where I work for the federal government and the Caucasians didn’t wonder why I loc up my hair or why I wear a Turban. They looked at my resume and qualifications and experience interviewed me and deemed me as qualified to do the job and they are very happy to pick me to do the job. It’s a shame the whole discussion on children hair is taking place now and it should’ve been a topic already established years ago. The muzungu slave drivers left but they are replaced with brainwashed colonized house slaves. Funny in another 4 to 5 months they will be advocating for black history and just two months ago they were talking about emancipation lol I tell you these folks just chat to make themselves sound good. lol

    • Thus are the staged actor’s of governance by cliques and cronies, explained with remnants of staid neo-colonial indoctrination and, pity narcissism: where, as the hair is clean and cuffed contained- for the local environment of its cultural effect; is the only criteria to the acceptance of learning universally..@My nappy hair turned bald, eh.

  2. Why is it that now school a go open, them wait to say these thing. Them no remember school during the carnival season , then full a shit No organization skill No communication skill.

  3. All this long alleluia story is not necessary, once the hair is groomed that should be the only concern. They put too much strain on education. Smh!!!!

  4. They must stop the Masa mentally. Some black people just don’t like themselves and their culture. Dash way all them colonial discrimination shit.
    I am a proud black women. With my natural kinky hair, can never ever be conformed to this system. I dance to my own music.

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