The Bono Regional Minister, Madam Justina Owusu Banahene, has cautioned Senior High School (SHS) students to shun bleaching their skins to prevent skin-related diseases.
Speaking to students and teachers of the Sunyani Senior High School (SUSEC), Sunyani, and Notre Dame Senior High School (NODASS), Fiapre, separately, the Regional Minister described skin bleaching as an attempt to change God’s creation.
Madam Justina Owusu Banahene cautioned the students against lightening, brightening and whitening their skins, as the practice has the devastating consequences of causing chronic diseases and eventually leading to death.
She explained some of the problems associated with the practice, including skin cancer, skin injuries, damage to internal organs, infections and other dangers linked to the use of skin bleaching products.
She again advised against the erroneous reasons motivating young girls and boys to bleach their skins, including the desire to look beautiful and attract men, low self-esteem, peer group influence, and ignorance among others.
“I’m here as your mother, your regional minister, your friend and your teacher to advise you that you are all precious in God’s sight. You are all wonderfully made by God. All of you have some tremendous possibilities, so do not try to alter God’s creation,” she said.
Bleaching among SHS female students is worrying, as the practice continues to gain popularity in second-cycle schools nationwide.
Skin bleaching refers to the use of products to lighten dark areas of the skin, or achieve an overall lighter complexion. These products include bleaching creams, soaps, and pills, as well as professional treatments like chemical peels and laser therapy.
The short-term excitements and perceived attractiveness of the body by students after the skin eroding exercise may have damming consequences in the future.
The numbers involved are huge and alarming. The practice of toning the body is not the preserve of some particular schools.
Often when year one students start school, they enter secondary schools with their natural skin colours however, after a few terms in school, many of them begin to crave for lighter-skin and begin to use all kinds of body toning creams and pills to wash off the dark skins they have had all this while.
Teachers and heads of schools have had a difficult task dealing with the practice which has now become an unofficially accepted fashion in many of our Senior High Schools.
There are male students who also bleach however; the practice among males is lower compared to females.
Bleaching among SHS female students is a very risky business and choice and the earlier school authorities and stakeholders take up this challenge and win the mind-set of those engaged in it, the better for society and the school community.
Madam Owusu Banahene advised SHS students to remain focused and study hard so that the huge investment being made in the education sector by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government does not go to waste.
She explained that if all students attend school regularly, attend all classes and study hard, there is no way they would not pass their examinations to make their families proud, move forward in their education process and also position themselves for the field of work after school.
She further enumerated the various interventions the NPP government is putting in place to improve the nation’s economy through education development.
The regional minister said the government is currently doing everything possible to ensure that students get the best support to enhance effective teaching and learning in all schools across the country including SUSEC and NODASS.
She urged the students to strive for excellence in their educational endeavours, while also exercising discipline and practising good core values.
“Education will empower you in how to navigate life and become successful. It empowers you to focus on the positives and not the negatives. It empowers you to be constructive and productive in transforming your communities and the country,” she said.
Madam Owusu Banahene said that students who adopt good values during their school life would follow them throughout their post-school existence.
She encouraged the students to use their education to transform their communities and to be the needed agents of change for the nation.