Covering Controversy: Egypt’s Ban on Niqab Sparks Heated Debate in Schools

09:13PM Tue 12 Sep, 2023

Education Minister Reda Hegazy has officially confirmed the decision to ban the wearing of the niqab (full-face veil) in Egyptian schools starting from the next academic year. The new dress code allows students to wear a hair covering that doesn’t obscure their face.

According to Minister Hegazy, the purpose of this decision is to strike a balance between religious expression and maintaining a clear educational environment. The guidelines strictly prohibit the use of models or pictures that promote hair covering unless approved by the concerned Directorate of Education.

Minister Hegazy emphasizes the importance of parents’ role in selecting their daughters’ attire and ensuring it remains a voluntary choice free from external pressures. The Education Ministry has directed all education directorates to verify parents’ awareness of this decision.

The Ministry has also introduced a coordinated approach to school uniforms, with the school board, trustees, parents, and teachers deciding the appropriate colors for both male and female students. Changes to uniforms should be considered at the beginning of each educational stage with a minimum interval of three years.

Students found violating the new dress code will not be allowed to enter or attend school. Additionally, Minister Hegazy highlights the importance of conducting a national identity examination covering subjects such as Arabic language, national education, and religious education to ensure a well-rounded education.

Overall, the Egyptian government’s decision to ban the niqab in schools aims to balance religious expression while maintaining an educational environment. It emphasizes parental consent and voluntary choice while introducing a coordinated approach to school uniforms and a national identity examination. These measures aim to provide students with a well-rounded education encompassing their national and cultural identity.