.

Why not? Apparently, having treated hair has been banned in Rwandan schools. But for some people, their issue isn’t really about treated hair as it is with hair in general. The argument is that if kids are allowed to grow their hair – and maybe even treat it – their academic performance will drop because they will pay more attention to their hair than to their books.
 Rachel Garuka
Rachel Garuka

Why not?

Apparently, having treated hair has been banned in Rwandan schools. But for some people, their issue isn’t really about treated hair as it is with hair in general. The argument is that if kids are allowed to grow their hair – and maybe even treat it – their academic performance will drop because they will pay more attention to their hair than to their books.

Sometimes I’m forced to ask questions even at the risk of sounding silly but, how does hair and intellect connect. Okay I understand that as girls, we like to spend endless hours in the mirror admiring our own appearance but I still don’t understand how that makes one daft.

I think cutting off girls’ hair is a very backward thing to do. When I was younger, our heads were shaved at school with no more than quarter an inch left. It was so bad, every where I went people called me ‘boy’. I had to ditch my dresses during the holidays because people looked at me in a weird and peculiar way when I wore them. I think because I looked like a boy, they didn’t quite appreciate my mum’s sense of humour – I mean with the dresses!

Isn’t that just abusing a girl’s right to look like a girl? Why should I wait for when I grow breasts to be identified as a girl? If managed properly, hair should not be an issue. Children can be advised to have it plaited in neat cornrows, something that won’t keep them glued to the mirrors longer than they have to trying to find a suitable style for the day.

What I find even more absurd is the fact that mixed race students in some of these schools are allowed to keep their hair long. Schools need to be fair and bear in mind that these actions do not go away unnoticed – and that cannot breed good results academically, socially and pretty much any other way.

I know education is more important than looks but for a girl to truly succeed in that department, she also has to feel good about herself. That said, the cone shaped head would probably look way better with some hair on it. I would literally hide and probably dodge as many classes as I could if I felt even the slightest tease directed at my head. Girls need to be self-confident and not have people lowering their self-esteem—a very vital factor to their high academic performance.

Seriously though, if a child is smart, they will excel regardless of whether they have hair on their heads or not. Let’s not try to make it look like hair is the biggest hindrance towards academic excellence. There are far bigger issues – issues most people choose not to talk about or pretend do not exist; like, the provision of sanitary towels to teenagers, teenage pregnancies and how schools are not doing enough to educate these kids on the dangers of pre marital sex.

Now those are the issues that need to be addressed – not the fluffy keratin on their heads. If they can just find a way to keep it neat at all times, I don’t see what the problem is. Some girls’ schools in Uganda like Gayaza Girls and Mount St. Mary’s Namagunga have a reputation of producing some of the best results in the country’s finals. However, these girls were allowed to keep their hair, it was natural but at the end of the day, it is still long hair. They had their hair kept long and their grades just kept soaring and soaring, and it goes to confirm that hair has nothing to do with performance.

If a child is failing, even at the risk of sounding insensitive, they are just slow and need extra help. Do not blame it on their hair!

 

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