Education minister says short or long styles will be acceptable within certain limits
Students in schools under the Ministry of Education will be allowed to wear short or long hair as they like under a new regulation intended to respond to an age-old debate, Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said on Tuesday.
The ministry was responding to persistent calls for amendments to a 2020 ministry regulation on students’ hairstyles, particularly penalties that are seen as physically and mentally harmful, she said.
The Education Ministry sought advice from the Council of State about how to proceed. The government’s legal advisory body suggested it was within the power of the minister under the Ministry of Education Administration Act of 2003 to issue a regulation for schools to follow, said Ms Treenuch.
On Jan 16, she signed an order to revoke the 2020 regulation on students’ hairstyles and submitted a proposal to the cabinet secretariat to forward it for publication in the Royal Gazette. It will take effect as soon as it is published, the minister said.
Under the new regulation, boy students can wear short or long hair, but the length must not extend beyond the hairline. Boys are not allowed to wear beards or moustaches. Hair must not bear any peculiar symbol or pattern.
Girls can also wear short or long hair. Long hair must be neatly tied up. Dyeing or changing hair colour is not allowed.
Existing regulations give schools the freedom to determine what kinds of hairstyles are appropriate for their students. But this frequently leads to overly zealous teachers taking drastic enforcement measures.
Ms Treenuch said in May last year that no matter what they might think of the style, teachers have no right to cut students’ hair as punishment for perceived violations.
Discipline is necessary to impart structure in an educational environment, she said at the time.
However, a haircut by the teacher has no place in schools as it has nothing to do with nurturing an awareness of students’ roles and responsibilities, she added.