Philippines Muslim teachers told to remove veils

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

32 Gulf News

Manila: The majority-Catholic Philippines told Muslim teachers 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.

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.

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 per cent 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.

Comments

32 Comments
Show
  • Kashif Ajmal Malik

    Jul 24, 2013 5:05

    Appreciation for the comment of Jill. To all commentators, relax, yourcomments cant change a single thing and do not over react when thePhilippines council for Islamic affairs agreed upon, so they know theground realities better. Second, The newspaper only opens the commentssection for certain news and not for all, so basically they are testinghow you react. Cool guys, this is not facebook or twitter to show youraggression, be moderated. thanks.

  • Ibrahim

    Jul 24, 2013 4:59

    I've never seen a teacher wearing her face veil in side the CLASS ROOM.

  • ZAYNAT

    Jul 24, 2013 4:49

    Removing viels or headscarf? If wearing viels equate to covering the whole face only showing the eyes, then it doesn't make sense as the students won't even know who their teacher is!!!!! Islam did not educate to cover thei face but only hair, hand and legs showing skin. Some people just misinterpret the religion in their own way and sendingwrong message to public.

  • zaid

    Jul 24, 2013 4:45

    I am totally in support with the authorities of Phillipines in thismatter. I could never communicate with someone where her face is beingcovered. Just doesnt seem logical and sensible

  • Zubair Khan

    Jul 24, 2013 4:21

    Not that objectionable move as is done in some Western countries.Student/ teacher relationship will be the msot important factor and hopeno resentment will be shown by affected Muslim teahcers.

  • Ali

    Jul 24, 2013 3:43

    One comment to the editor. It is irrelevant to talk and say"Armed separatist Muslim insurgencies have been a persistentproblem for the Philippines since the 1970s, and the government hastried to accommodate the Muslim minority by respecting many of theirpractices." You are talking about the veil issue not on the wholeMuslim issue of Philippines.

  • June

    Jul 24, 2013 3:10

    I believe, the author of this article should have made his/her researchwith accuracy and with clarity thus giving opinions as such. The writershould have asked questions regarding this, whether it is the face-mask(niqab) or the the head-dress. As far as I am concerned, Muslim women inthe Philippines are allowed to wear the head-dress at work, no one isstopping them nor instructing them as every individual respects what theothers are known to and the beliefs. So, most probably, instead ofreacting of what the story is, better react on how the writer shouldhave been more specific in details to make the news more credible....

  • Harum

    Jul 24, 2013 2:43

    Please note that this is only the face veil. Kindly read the memo

  • Khurram

    Jul 24, 2013 2:17

    Although i m a muslim but i do support the move as the reason behind this is logical, we should not over react to whatever comes in front of us. Moreover, if the phillippines religious affairs department have no issue with this than no need to critisize the move.

  • robin

    Jul 24, 2013 2:13

    Hey I read someone commented about nuns and sisters ....I have neverseen any nuns cover their face with a viel!!!!!!! they only cover thehead with a scarf....and here the question is about the face veil....howcan a teacher interact with her pupils when they cant even see her face?

  • Load more

Latest Comment

Appreciation for the comment of Jill. To all commentators, relax, yourcomments cant change a single thing and do not over react when thePhilippines council for Islamic affairs agreed upon, so they know theground realities better. Second, The newspaper only opens the commentssection for certain news and not for all, so basically they are testinghow you react. Cool guys, this is not facebook or twitter to show youraggression, be moderated. thanks.

Kashif Ajmal Malik

26 July 2013 13:14jump to comments