Denmark: More supervision of Muslim schools

Denmark: More supervision of Muslim schools

Last year the Danish education ministry decided to send special supervisors to Muslim private schools. It's unclear what was the result.


The Muslim parallel society in Denmark should be fought against, and this will be done by having the schools teach more democracy and Danish values. The country's private schools - including the Arab and Muslim private schools - will be under strict control to prevent teaching that causes hate and contempt towards Danish values, Trade and Economy Minister Lene Espersen (Conservatives) said in a speech at the party's summer convention Tuesday.

"We have children who grow up in this country, who in principle could just as well have lived in Saudi Arabia. Since the TV they see at home, the language they speak at home, and what goes on at various private schools, has nothing to do with Denmark," she says.

According to Lene Espersen, democracy classes should be part of the curriculum from grades 1 to 10. Not just as an actual subject, it should be part of education, so all students will know about rule of the people, equality, freedom of speech and the right to decide about their own lives.

The demands from private schools will be even stricter. First, all teachers would have to match up to the requirements of teachers in public schools, but additionally, private schools will be visited the local municipality at least once a year to ensure that the teaching of Danish values is being maintained.

"We know well that this will cause an outcry, since the private schools are allowed to decide on their own. But children in Denmark should not be education in a way that they can't suffer democratic traditions, and therefore we should have control over what goes on," says Lene Espersen.

Ebbe Lilliendal of the Danish private school association, which organizes 250 of the country's 500 private school 0 including a large portion of the Muslim private schools, is not happy about the Conservative proposal.

He says that Muslim private schools are already under inspection. "Muslim private schools have asked to be inspected exactly to avoid this criticism. This means that they're a supervisor from the municipality there at least two teaching days a year. And not once was there any sign that there's education which goes in the direction of parallel societies," says Ebbe Lilliendal. He's also upset about the stricter requirements from the teachers. He says it simply won't work. There are teachers for crafts and some languages who are not at the level they would like them to have.

He says politicians now are competing over who shouts the loudest.

The Danish People's Party is happy about the announcement from the Conservative Party. Deputy Chairman Peter Skaarup says that the DPP had long wished for stricter supervision of private schools. "It might well be that there's supervision today, but because a supervisor goes out two days a year, a whole lot can easily happen when they're not there." He says there should be more supervision and unannounced supervision, so you would be able to know what's really going on.

The Social Democrats are also open for stricter supervision of private schools. Christine Antorini, education spokesperson says they support the proposal and not only exclusively for Muslim private schools but for all religious private schools. The party has problems with Christian private schools who teach that God created the world. The party clearly supports more impartial supervision.

Source: Politiken (Danish)

See also: Denmark: Supervisors to visit Muslim private schools

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