Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of Education has banned the niqab from schools. For Mohamed Hassad, the minister of Education, this garment hinders communication with the students and the achievement of educational objectives.
A ministerial note was sent to all educational establishments in Morocco, notifying principles and directors on the new ban on full-faced veils in schools, reported news daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribia on October 17.
Citing sources close to the minister, the newspaper wrote that this decision stems from Hassad’s desire to “preserve the independency” of schools and its “pedagogic and intrinsic function.” The minister believes that, as the niqab hides the face of the person who wears it, it interferes with the pedagogic and communicative objectives with the students.
The news daily also cited the story of a high school teacher who was forced to remove her niqab after receiving many warnings from the ministry, as well as that of another teacher who chose to retire rather than remove her full-face veil.
Morocco will not be the first North African country to enforce such dress code in its school. Back in September, Algeria also banned the niqab and any other kind of full-faced veils in its educational institutions.
The Algerian ministry of education in fact issued a decree banning any kind of cloth that would hide an individual’s face, stating that the reason behind the decision was to fight cheating during exams.
Extending to teachers and other educational workers, the ban sparked great controversy in the country, especially among conservative Islamic groups who denounced it as a violation against the freedom of hijabi women in schools.