New hairstyle policy for schools possible by September- Manickchand

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Minister of Education Priya Manickchand on Monday advised that her ministry will soon roll out a new hairstyle policy for school children.

According to Manickchand, the policy could be in place by the new school term in September 2022, following several rounds of consultations with parents, teachers and other stakeholders.

“We’re going to try to write that up and get our policy out for the new school term, for September,” the Minister told the News Room via telephone.

She explained that public consultations are still being held and with hopes of implementing a new policy.

Conversations about outdated hairstyle policies in the school system started in March 2022 after the Ministry issued a memo, announcing a relaxation of existing hairstyle rules in schools for teachers and students.

It was to observe International Women’s Day. But soon after, a national debate permeated social media with persons calling for the abolition of the rules.

Among them was Tamika Henry-Fraser, the creator of the social movement Curl Fete.

During a panel discussion hosted by the News Room, she contended that the policy or rules which require that students’ hair is kept neat and tidy do not consider afro Guyanese children.

Manickchand, who participated in the panel discussion, had agreed that the hairstyle rules in schools needed to be examined and possibly changed.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand (Photo: Ministry of Education/March 2, 2022)

Soon after there were efforts, coordinated by the Ministry of Education, aimed at overhauling outdated-school rules which disproportionately affect learners based on gender and ethnicity.

The conversation also addresses the idea that the rules are outdated because hairstyles cannot determine whether a child learns in class.

Manickchand said that she has heard of students being sent home and even placed in detention and punished for their hairstyles not being appropriate or acceptable according to the rules. But she explained that hairstyles cannot determine whether a student learns.

Since then, Manickchand said that all efforts are geared towards removing some of the archaic rules that could narrow how people express themselves.

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