Student dress and grooming policy consultations begin Loop Jamaica

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Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams (centre), fields questions during a consultation on the development of a new student dress and grooming policy at Jamaica College in Kingston on Tuesday. She is flanked by Community Relations Education Officer for the Ministry’s Region 5, Anieta Bailey (left) and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Maureen Dwyer. (Photo: JIS)

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The Ministry of Education and Youth has begun a series of consultations on student dress and grooming. The objective is to develop a policy for educational institutions that balances students’ rights while complying with school rules.

The first consultation was held on Tuesday at Jamaica College in Kingston and involved school leaders and deans of discipline.

Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, said that the policy framework will “clarify the ministry’s stance [on student dress and grooming] and will seek to reduce discriminatory practices in schools while addressing the need for discipline and the development of societal values”.

She noted that every institution would be required to review and document its own guidelines in keeping with the policy.”This, we believe, will help to mitigate some of the conflicts that arise because of lack of information or varying expectations,” she said.

Some school leaders had raised questions about acceptable disciplinary measures for students who disobey dress and grooming rules.

Minister Williams noted that the policy is important as the nation continues to celebrate its dynamic culture and Independence.

“We are also aware that there are cultural dynamics and differences of opinion as to what may be considered appropriate and relevant to the child’s education,” she pointed out.

As such, she said, the policy takes into consideration cultural identity, climatic conditions, socio-economic circumstances of parents and the aims of educational institutions.

The consultations will continue across the island and will also involve sessions with students and parents.

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