The Egyptian government has made a decision to restrict the wearing of the niqab (full-face veil) by girls in schools during the new academic year, which begins on September 30 this year.
Reda Hegazy, Egypt’s Minister of Education, publicly announced the decision and described the new guidelines. Hair covers are permissible, according to Minister Hegazy, but they must not obscure the student’s face. Furthermore, unless approved by the Directorate of Education, no models or illustrations promoting the hair cover are permitted, he said.
Minister Hegazy also emphasized the responsibility of the guardian in the student’s decision. “It is crucial that the guardian is aware of and consents to their daughter’s decision to wear a hair cover, and this choice should be entirely voluntary, free from any external pressure or coercion,” the Minister said.
As per the reports, the ministry has adopted a coordinated strategy for school uniforms. The school board will decide on the appropriate uniform colour for both male and female students in conjunction with the board of trustees, parents, and teachers. The decision will be taken in collaboration with the competent Directorate of Education, ensuring that students have a unified and coordinated appearance at the school.
Minister Hegazy also emphasised that modifications to school uniforms should be considered at the start of each educational stage, with a minimum of three years between alterations. Guardians will decide where to purchase uniforms, but kids must follow the uniform regulations. Any student caught in violation of these rules will be barred from entering or attending school, he added.
Apart from Egypt, several countries like Austria, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Uzbekistan have imposed bans on the wearing of headscarves at schools and colleges.
Recently, in the year 2022, the Karnataka High Court in India also pronounced its verdict on wearing hijab in schools. The court upheld the ban and ruled that wearing of hijab is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith.
The hijab controversy in Karnataka gained traction in the first week of January last year when eight Muslim girls were denied entry to classes at a Udupi college as they wore hijabs. The college authorities had informed that the hijab was not a part of the uniform dress code mandated for the students.
The Muslim girls, who were adamant about wearing hijab, subsequently petitioned the High Court to be allowed to attend classes while wearing hijab. They claimed that donning the Hijab was both an “integral practice of Islam” and their “fundamental right” guaranteed by Articles 14 and 25 of the Indian Constitution.
However, the court ruled that wearing of hijab is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith.