The City of Oslo has received clearance from the Directorate for Primary and Secondary Education to forbid veils that cover all of the face but the eyes.
City Council leader Erling Lae will introduce a ban on this type of veil because he believes it makes it difficult for teachers when they cannot see their students' faces, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) reports.
Fakhara Salimi, head of the MiRA Resource Center for immigrant and refugee women, did not welcome the news.
"Banning something that impinges on an individual's freedom is never good. Adult women over 16 should be able to choose for themselves," Salimi told Aftenposten's evening edition. She felt that seeing the eyes was sufficient for daily school communication.
Although the ruling means that other municipalities in Norway can also introduce a ban on garments that veil everything but the eyes, this would only apply to the Muslim niqab, and not the scarf-like hijab.
"We are not forbidding religious garments. One must distinguish between the religious hijab and the completely covering niqab. The latter makes it impossible to have good communication between teacher and student, and between students as well," said Torger Ødegaard, city councilor for schools and education.
Teachers agree that education is more difficult when they cannot see facial expressions or the mouths of a student.
Norway becomes the third European country, after Sweden and France, to forbid the use of the niqab in schools.
Source: Aftenposten (English)