The Education Ministry, in response to the controversy surrounding VUC Lyngby’s niqab ban, has written to Ritzau to clarify that the school’s decision is not in violation of any rules.
The ban, which has caused a stir on VUC Lyngby’s Facebook page, has invited impassioned responses on both sides of the debate and drawn international attention.
“Educational institutions can, under current law, prohibit the wearing of burqas, niqabs or similar garments during classes or exams,” its statement read.
However, it has vowed to look into the matter since it is far from the first time the controversy has arisen – other institutions that ban the niqab include VUF Frederiksberg, VUC Aarhus and CPH West, reports DR.
The issue of human rights
For Danish experts in the field of human rights, the situation is a very complicated one.
Maria Ventegodt Liisberg, the department director of equal treatment at the Danish Institute of Human Rights, believes there are legitimate arguments that can be made for or against the school’s decision.
“One could argue that it is mainly to ensure effective communication between the teacher and the student,” she told DR.
However, she also cautions that all students must have the opportunity to receive an education in some capacity – even if this capacity may be restricted for certain reasons, religious or otherwise.
“The student must be able to say: ‘At the expense of my education, I want to wear my niqab,'” she said, adding that the question of whether niqabs hamper education warrants further examination.