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Yunus Olawale

Ahead of next term’s school resumption on September 30, the government of Egypt has unveiled its intolerance of the use of the niqob in schools.  Although a number of public and private schools in the country have already imposed bans on the use of the niqob on school premises.

The Minister of Education, Reda Hegazy, said that students would still have the right to choose whether to wear a headscarf but insisted that it must not cover their face. In a statement, the Education Minister opined, “Here, the role of the teachers of the Arabic language, religious education, and social and psychological education, will be to prepare the students psychologically to implement the ministry’s decision with all kindness and gentleness, taking into account the students’ psychological state and their age level.”

Some right-wing groups have staged their arguments that the Egyptian Constitution respects religious freedom and that stopping the use of the niqob is a breach of civil liberties which would not be allowed.

The garment has been worn by Muslim women for religious reasons across the world for centuries.

 It should also be recalled that Cairo University has banned the wearing of face veils by teaching staff since 2015, a rule that was upheld by an Egyptian court in 2020.

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