The Norwegian government has proposed a nationwide ban on the wearing of full-face veils, such as the burqa and the niqab, in universities, schools, and kindergartens.
France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed restrictions on wearing full-face veils in public places. If passed by parliament, Norway could become the first Nordic country to introduce such ban in the education sector, Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in a statement on Friday.
The government amended an initial proposal, first presented in June, to allow the wearing of full-face veils during breaks and staff meetings in schools and universities, but it would have to apply throughout working hours at kindergartens.
“A ban on face-covering garments will ensure open communication with children, students and newly arrived immigrants in educational situations,” Jan Tore Sanner, minister of knowledge and integration said in the statement.
The ban would not apply to headgear like the hijab or hats. Local bans on wearing burqa and niqab have been already introduced in some upper secondary schools in Norway.
Norway’s minority government, a coalition of the Conservatives, the Progress Party and the centrist Liberals, said in June it was confident it would find enough support for the move in parliament.