Ghana Education Service Bans Skin Bleaching and other Fashion Accessories in Senior High Schools


In an effort to foster discipline and maintain a favorable learning environment, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has recently enforced a nationwide prohibition on skin bleaching for students across all Second Cycle institutions.

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

The segment of the code labeled “Improper Dressing” expressly tackles the issue, explicitly stating, “Bleaching of the skin by a student shall not be allowed.” This measure is perceived as a step to discourage unhealthy beauty practices and foster a positive body image among students.

However, the regulations go beyond the prohibition of skin bleaching, encompassing various facets of student appearance and behavior. Students are mandated to present themselves in a tidy manner, consistently adhering to the specified attire and footwear. The code also delineates specific guidelines concerning accessories like chains, bangles, caps, braces, and even spectacles. Spectacles are permissible only with a valid medical prescription, and any alterations to school uniforms or attire are strictly forbidden.

According to the Code of Conduct, “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.”

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.