CHIANGRAI – The Ministry of Education says it will abolish a decades-old regulation on school children’s hairstyles that requires them to keep short hair. Thailand is one of many countries in Asia which requires school children to wear uniforms and have a neat haircut to go with it.
And the rules are pretty strict. In 1972, the military rulers issued a regulation where all Thai students from the first to ninth grades have to keep their hair short.
Boys have to sport a crew cut no longer than five centimeters, while girls have to wear bobs that shouldn’t go past the neckline. This rule was relaxed three years later, but the hairstyles didn’t change much.
More than 40 years after the rules were first implemented, Thai students’ hairstyles may now move with the times.
The Ministry of Education has said it will abolish this regulation at all public schools.
Boys no longer need to wear close-cropped hair; girls can now wear ponytails.
The change received mixed reactions from students at Santirat Wittayalai School.
One seventh grade student said: “I felt freedom. I think (amendment of the regulation) is good as I do not like my current hairstyle. It does not suit me.”
Another seventh grade student added: “I do not think my hairstyle will affect my learning ability. I study in a classroom and hair is not a relevant issue.”
Some teachers, principals and parents also fear the rule change could distract the students from learning.
Mr Nattakit Buakham, Director of Santirat Wittayalai School, said: “The current rule should be maintained. I think students at high school level can keep their hair long while those in lower grade should follow this regulation as they just passed elementary school.”
“It is not appropriate for school students to have long hair. Those with long hair do not look polite and look like trouble-makers,” said a parent.
The Ministry of Education has left it to the schools to regulate just what lengths are appropriate, but the move has given Thai students a little bit more freedom to let their hair down, just a little bit.