World | Philippines

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

  • AFP
  • Published: 15:54 July 23, 2013
  • 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)

  1. Added 17:05 July 24, 2013

    Appreciation for the comment of Jill. To all commentators, relax, your comments cant change a single thing and do not over react when the Philippines council for Islamic affairs agreed upon, so they know the ground realities better. Second, The newspaper only opens the comments section for certain news and not for all, so basically they are testing how you react. Cool guys, this is not facebook or twitter to show your aggression, be moderated. thanks.

    Kashif Ajmal Malik, Abu Dhabi, Pakistan

  2. Added 16:59 July 24, 2013

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

    Ibrahim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:49 July 24, 2013

    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 sending wrong message to public.

    ZAYNAT, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:45 July 24, 2013

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

    zaid, sharjah, India

  5. Added 16:21 July 24, 2013

    Not that objectionable move as is done in some Western countries. Student/ teacher relationship will be the msot important factor and hope no resentment will be shown by affected Muslim teahcers.

    Zubair Khan, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

  6. Added 15:43 July 24, 2013

    One comment to the editor. It is irrelevant to talk and say "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." You are talking about the veil issue not on the whole Muslim issue of Philippines.

    Ali, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 15:10 July 24, 2013

    I believe, the author of this article should have made his/her research with accuracy and with clarity thus giving opinions as such. The writer should 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 in the Philippines are allowed to wear the head-dress at work, no one is stopping them nor instructing them as every individual respects what the others are known to and the beliefs. So, most probably, instead of reacting of what the story is, better react on how the writer should have been more specific in details to make the news more credible....

    June, Dubai, Philippines

  8. Added 14:43 July 24, 2013

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

    Harum, Manila, Philippines

  9. Added 14:17 July 24, 2013

    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.

    Khurram, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 14:13 July 24, 2013

    Hey I read someone commented about nuns and sisters ....I have never seen any nuns cover their face with a viel!!!!!!! they only cover the head with a scarf....and here the question is about the face can a teacher interact with her pupils when they cant even see her face?

    robin, dubai, United Arab Emirates

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