Denmark: Muslim school popular

A lack of resources at private Muslim schools does not discourage parents from signing up their children Private Muslim schools around the country report long waiting lists, despite claims that they lack social responsibility and broad subject areas.

'We have 700 children on our waiting list and have had to introduce a rule that you can't sign children up until they have turned three years,' Mohammed Khatib, headmaster of DIA Private School in Copenhagen, told daily newspaper Urban.

Khatib attributes the long waiting lists, which can run up to four years, to the schools' positive graduation results and mother-tongue instruction.

AbdAllah J. Tolstrup, head of the Moroccan-Danish School, agreed with Khatib, and said the schools' facilities were certainly not the main draw for parents.

'We are the poorest school in the capital region. Besides providing respect, however, we can guarantee that there are neither immigrant-haters nor people hostile toward Islam here,' said Tolstrup.

Ebbe Lilliendal Jørgensen, national director of the Danish Free School Union, an interest group for the country's 261 private schools, said that respect for individual students encouraged many Muslim parents to wave goodbye to public schools and to enrol their children at private ones.

'At the immigrant schools, we start off with a respect for individual children, meet it, and involve the parents,' said Jørgensen.

Neils Egelund, a professor at the Danish University of Education, is disappointed in the increasing waiting lists. Over several years, he has tried to encourage more immigrants of Muslim background to choose public school, but has now begun to admit defeat.

'It's a shame. Public school have a need for all types of people.'

Source: Jyllands-Posten (English)

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