Girls Must Cut their Hair: Why Do Schools Make this a Requirement?

Generally, Nigerian school girls are expected to do something with their hair, especially if they attend public schools and government schools.  Private schools are more liberal, in my opinion, and some of them even allow students use hair extensions (attachment) during the school year.  But, I suppose with all the millions their parents sink into their school fees, that’s a minor trade off, ba?


However, most students attend government schools or public schools for secondary school, and it is these schools that tend to have restrictive rules for girls’ hair.

For the girls who attend these schools, the choices for grooming their hair fall into two categories:


  1. Braid (or thread) your hair
  2. Cut your hair

We have already looked at some of the popular hairstyles for Nigerian school girls.  It does not matter whether you choose that hairstyle yourself, or your school picks the hairstyle for you every week.  Bottom line is you can’t just “pack” your hair and come to school.  You must braid your hair. Period.

But, what about those girls who attend schools where they are required to cut their hair?  What then?  

Well, for starters, it means they don’t get to pick any hairstyle.  That has already been decided for them.  There is one single hair style, and it’s called “low cut.”

Why do schools have this requirement?  I have a few answers, but you can add your own too.  Here are my answers:

  1. Uniformity:  Since schools already regulate their students’ appearances with uniforms, it makes sense that the students’ hair would also be regulated.  So, for the sake of making everyone look uniform (in a good way, hopefully), they insist on having all students keep their hair in the simplest, fuss-free way possible, i.e. low cut.  My problem with this is that you can still achieve uniformity without making students cut their hair.  I think it’s a control thing.  Which brings us to # 2.
  2. Control:  Schools already control other aspects of students’ lives: their schedules, what time they go on break, etc.  That’s just the nature of schools.  Hair is just one more aspect they can control.  
  3. Economics:  Let’s face it: unless you braid your hair yourself or have someone who does it for free, braiding your hair every week or even every two weeks can really add up.  It’s an expense.  Not to mention the horrors of braiding your hair in the market, for example.  However, maintaining a low cut is also an expense, but it is definitely cheaper than braiding your hair every week.  Possibly schools realize this and insist on students cutting their hair to keep the cost of maintenance down.  But, I am not buying this argument.

I think it makes more sense to give students the choice to decide what they want to do with their hair, with some guidelines, rather than flat out insisting on low cut.

What are your thoughts? Why do you think schools insist on girls cutting their hair? Do you agree or disagree? Kindly share.

There is love in SHARING

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