Ministry of Education
PETITION FOR IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE CODES AND POLICIES ON HAIRSTYLE AND HAIR FORMS OF FEMALE STUDENTS IN FIRST AND SECOND CYCLE INSTITUTIONS
I write to petition your Honorable office for immediate review of all codes of the Ghana Education Service on hair hairstyle and hair forms of our female students in both first and second cycle institutions.
This call has become very necessary because Long Life Africa (an NGO that protect, promote and defend the right of vulnerable people) has received numerous complaints of female students who were denied admissions into both first and second cycle schools on account of their hairstyle or hair forms. Personally, l had an encounter with a good number of them who were helpless, frustrated and depressed in the psychological medicine department. While some were forced to trim their long natural and neatly plated hair, others manage to go through the system with medical reports.
Few weeks ago, l was confronted with same situation while l was trying to enroll three of my beautiful daughters in one of the basic schools in south Tongu District of the Volta Region. They were all denied Education on account of uniformity of hair style. The headmistress sack them from the school on the ground that they must cut their natural and beautifully plated hair.
Apparently, this is unfortunate and an affront to both the Constitution of Ghana and the United Nations Declaration on Universal Human Rights and Freedoms. In all the instances and scenarios put up above, there has been a breach and violation of article 18,26, and 30 of the Universal Human Right Declaration which states the following:
We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.
We all have the right to an education, and to finish primary school, which should be free. We should be able to learn a career, or to make use of all our skills. We should learn about the United Nations and about how to get on with other people and respect their rights. Our parents have the right to choose how and what we will learn.
Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us.
With the above provisions of the United Nations Declaration my children and the rest of the cases I cited above have every right to keep their hair long and natural. In my case we are the Bride of Christ in this last day and we believe according to God’s word in first Corinthians 11:15 that, every woman is commanded to keep their hair long and natural. “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is for a covering”.
The verse emphatically mention hair as a cover over the scalp not scarf as some denominations believe. We have a duty to obey God rather than man. The practice where young females are forced to cut their hair on account of education and in the name of uniformity is a complete violation of both God’s Law and their religious right. Most of these young ones grow up to depend on artificial hair later in life because the uniformity nonsense has robbed them of their natural hair.
Besides, the long-held tradition of the Ghana Education Service that both male and female students must cut their hair short ought to be revised. It is outdated, discriminatory, dehumanizing and colonial in nature. It was our colonial masters who force the black students to cut their hair while allowing their white counterparts to grow theirs because the black race is considered inferior and incapable of keeping their hair long. It is over 60 years on after independence and we are still living in the colonial era. It is a shame. The albatross on the neck of our female students must come down.
More so, one would have thought that the infamous Achimota Rastafarian case should have brought a turning point to our colonial policies on hairstyle and hair forms. Though the Ghana Education Service hypocritically directed the Achimota School to offer admission to the two Rastafarian boys on the account of their faith, they failed to holistically review all such existing codes and policies on hairstyle and hair forms.
In conclusion, I write to maintain that the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and its officials have long violated article 18,26, and 30 of the United Nations Declaration on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms. It will be madness of justice if the ministry of Education and its agencies continue to impose their old fashion belief on hairstyle and hair forms on our children. I hereby insist on the following:
That your honorable office has no right to deny my three beautiful girls of their right to education on account of uniformity of hairstyle.
That all forms of stampedes and road blocks put on the way to the education of my three girls and all others who ascribed to same faith must be removed immediately.
That All codes and policies of the Ghana Education Service both written and unwritten be reviewed immediately to respect the rights and dignity of our young girls.
That all steps must be taken by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to halt the harassment, discriminatory and intimidating attitudes in our schools.
That the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service must Respect the sanctity of the United Nations Declaration on Universal Rights and Freedoms, to which Ghana is a member and a signatory. As put forth in the preamble, “THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS is a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of member states themselves and among the peoples of territories under jurisdiction”.
The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service have no excuse than to do the needful by revising all existing protocols and policies on hairstyles and hair forms of girls in conformity with modern trends.
That a written directive be issued immediately to restrain the Ghana Education Service and its officials from any further abuse and violations. A copy of the 1948 Declaration on Universal Human Rights and Freedoms has been attached for your attention and perusal.
Long Life Africa
Public Health Specialist
The Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education
The Director, Amnesty International
The Director, Child Right International
The Director, UNICEF
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