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Thailand’s Education Minister Fails Students Over Forced Haircuts

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Thailand’s Education Minister has bailed on students’ cries nationwide to put an end to uniformly short haircuts and said schools could make up their own minds about the hairstyles required for pupils.

On Wednesday, Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong said that each school had been given the freedom to choose the hairstyle measure deemed suitable for students.

Rather than imposing a specific hairstyle on students, the ministry gave all schools flexibility by settling on an appropriate style with parents and students.

Schools were instructed not to use harsh punishment when students violated the hairstyle agreement, according to Ms. Trinuch. According to her, the ministry’s main focus is learning and building discipline.

The education minister said she made her position clear as the so-called Bad Student movement continued to urge the government to end the regulation. The members of the Facebook Group posted the #freehairstyles #ทรงผม banner outside several schools on Monday as students return to classrooms nationwide after 2 years of homeschooling.

Students demonstrate for free haircuts

The Facebook Group has rallied for lifting the regulation previously and renewed its campaign as students started returning to classes on Tuesday.

Yesterday the Bangkok Post reported that three students demonstrated outside the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) this week, carrying placards calling for free haircuts and education reforms addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was inspecting the ONCB’s operations.

In 2020, the ministry lifted regulations governing student hairstyles for both boys and girls but left plenty of room for teachers to interpret them as they saw fit.

According to the current ministry regulations, school directors must determine appropriate hairstyles. However, according to the Bad Student Facebook group, some schools ignored the regulation and forced students to keep short haircuts.

On Wednesday, the @BadStudent Twitter account posted a picture that read: “Cutting hair is like cutting the learning process.”

Earlier this month, the US manufacturer Dove launched a campaign against forced haircuts for students that went viral on social media.

On Wednesday, Amorn Pinasa, the secretary-general of the Basic Education Commission, echoed the minister’s position, saying schools should be responsible for the hairstyle issue.

According to Ms. Amporn, schools don’t need more directions from the education ministry.

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