Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the discussion on a standardised code for school hairstyles is long overdue.
During Thursday night’s political meeting in Bournes Road, St James, Gadsby-Dolly stated: “The time has come for reform. So, a date has been set for discussions with the stakeholders on this issue because I understand, as a member of the PNM who built this country, we are a living, breathing and dynamic society. We are maturing. And, with maturity comes the need for reform.”
The Minister is set to meet with the Association of Denominational Boards of Education next Tuesday to discuss the issue.
The issue of appropriate hairstyles for schools, especially for male students, was raised after a group of graduating students of the Trinity College Moka, were barred from crossing the stage due to dress code violations which included hairstyles.
According to the school’s head prefect, Jovan Henry-Ali, several students were cautioned about their hairstyles, with warnings going back to last year.
“The school has sent multiple emails to parents reminding them about the appropriate hairstyles for their sons to wear. These students have known for a while that if their hair was not properly groomed/attired they were not crossing the stage,” Henry-Ali wrote in a Facebook post after the graduation ceremony.
Gadsby-Dolly said she’s attuned to public discourse on the matter, and while many may feel it’s not one that deserves the prominence it’s been given, the time has come for the discussion to take place.
“I’ve seen comments all over. I’m listening to the radio, I’m looking at social media, and a few persons have suggested that this issue is not worthy of national conversation.
Gadsby-Dolly underscored that the issue shouldn’t be reduced to being about hairstyles in schools, because it plays a larger societal role.
“It’s deeper than a hairstyle. It’s about our burgeoning identity as a nation. We are 61 years young but we are maturing as a society.
“It forces us to reflect on the fact that in many areas the time has come for reform,” she said.