Muslim teachers told to remove veils

2013-07-23 12:09

Manila - The majority-Catholic Philippines told Muslim teachers on Tuesday to remove their veils inside classrooms, in part to promote better relationships between teachers and pupils.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the move was part of reforms to make schools more sensitive to religion.

Muslim schoolgirls will still be allowed to wear the veil or "hijab" on campuses as well as "appropriate clothing" in gym class, according to the order, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

But while female Muslim schoolteachers can wear the veil outside class, they are told to remove the veil during lessons so they can interact better with students.

"Once the [teacher] is in the classroom, she is requested to remove the veil," the order said.

Having Muslim female teachers remove their veils allows for "proper identification of the teachers by their pupils, thus promoting better teacher-pupil relationship", it said.

Widespread practice

Being able to see the teachers' faces also helps in teaching language, where "lip formation" plays a role in pronouncing certain letters, it said.

The government's Office of Muslim Affairs said it agreed with the education department's measures, although it had not yet received a copy of the order.

Roque Morales, an adviser to the office, said that while he did not know how many Muslim Filipinas were working as teachers, the practice of wearing veils is widespread in the southern Philippines.

"You would almost see it everywhere," he said.

He said the office had so far not received any complaints from Muslim teachers.

The office said that Muslims make up about 15% of the Philippine population, mostly based in the southern regions which they consider their ancestral home.

Armed separatist Muslim insurgencies have been a persistent problem for the Philippines since the 1970s, and the government has tried to accommodate the Muslim minority by respecting many of their practices.

  • Zaahid Muhammad - 2013-07-23 12:41

    Please can't we as humans respect ppls choices..some women would prefer to show there beuty while others prefer not to, but bottom line its there CHOICE..

  • Khalidah Karan - 2013-07-23 12:46

    Zaahid is right,covering your face is a choice. Covering your head yes is a must,so please people educate yourselves PLEASE!

      Jo Barton - 2013-07-23 13:03

      I don't see any muslim men covering their faces. IT is so because muslim men are hypcrites.They can look but at other women but women have no freedom.

      Muaaz Patel - 2013-07-23 13:26

      How can man look at women if their faces are covered and it's non of your business if she chooses to wear a veil. To each their own.

      Lanfear - 2013-07-23 13:37

      @ Khalidah - as I commented above, the face veil is what is being prohibited in classrooms, not the headscarf. I wouldn't want to be taught by a teacher that covers her whole face except her eyes!

  • Tommo Too - 2013-07-23 12:48

    Good move Philippines! !!

  • Willow Segole - 2013-07-23 12:53

    this is great news for the boys they will be motivated to have great results as the saying goes beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

  • Na-aem Williams - 2013-07-23 13:13

    @Khalidah , i'm a muslim and i think they have a piont regarding being able to see the teachers' faces also which helps in teaching language, where "lip formation" plays a role in pronouncing certain letters.Maybe we have to lighten up abit and see the positive about it.

  • Na-aem Williams - 2013-07-23 13:15

    @Raymond i agree with you 100% buddy.

      Raymon McNelly - 2013-07-23 13:22

      If you are as you stated above, a Muslim, then I urge you to seriously study the Quaran and if you are a true Muslim then you are obliged to study the Hadiths as well. Your eyes will open to the truth.

      Na-aem Williams - 2013-07-23 13:30

      @Raymon i hope that msg is meant for Khalidah.

  • Na-aem Williams - 2013-07-23 13:17

    @Jo Barton i think Zaahid gets the picture.

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