GES bans skin bleaching, wearing of chains, bangles, caps, braces in SHSs

In a bid to promote discipline and uphold a conducive learning environment, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has recently implemented a nationwide ban on skin bleaching among students in all Second Cycle institutions.

File photo: SHS students

This directive is part of the newly approved harmonized Code of Conduct by the Ghana Education Service Council for pre-tertiary level students.

The section of the code titled "Improper Dressing" explicitly addresses the issue, stating, "Bleaching of the skin by a student shall not be allowed." The move is seen as an effort to discourage unhealthy beauty practices and promote a positive body image among students.

The regulations, however, extend beyond the ban on skin bleaching, covering various aspects of student appearance and conduct. Students are required to dress neatly, adhering to prescribed attire and footwear consistently. The code also outlines specific rules regarding accessories such as chains, bangles, caps, braces, and even spectacles. Spectacles are allowed only with a valid medical prescription, and alterations to school uniforms or dress are strictly prohibited.

“Students shall not wear chains, bangles, caps, braces. Wearing of spectacles shall be with medical presentation. No alterations to school uniforms or dress shall be allowed. Unprescribed attire found in the possession of a student is an offence attire is an offence. Using unprescribed attire by a student is an offence,” the Code of Conduct stipulates.


Personal grooming is also addressed in the guidelines, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a decent haircut as defined by school authorities. Clean, neat, and modest hair is encouraged, with an emphasis on avoiding extreme styles and colours. Male students are expected to have a neatly styled haircut and a clean-shaven beard.

“Students should have a decent haircut as prescribed by the school authorities. Hair should be clean, neat, and modest, and avoid extremes in styles and colour. Men’s hair should be neatly struck and beard clean shaven,” states the code.

The prescribed guidelines for sanctions include the confiscation of bleaching cream and other prescribed items, facing a disciplinary committee, and signing a bond. Sanctions for improper dressing offences include caution and counselling, manual work, demotion for prefects, two weeks internal suspension, and shaving of beards or sideburns under the supervision of a housemaster.

The GES's harmonized Code of Conduct serves as a guide and reference material, aiming to promote and maintain discipline at the pre-tertiary level of education while adhering to general rules and directives. This move reflects a broader commitment to instilling discipline and uniformity in the educational environment, emphasizing the role of appropriate appearance and grooming standards in fostering a conducive learning atmosphere.


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