Schools will now allow niqabs, a veil worn in public covering the entire face apart from the eyes, to be worn by teachers while teaching, the Ministry of Education has announced, in an about-face rule change that had previously banned teachers from doing so.

The teachers’ code of conduct had previously required teachers to be identifiable to students, hence the ban that had been in place before.

The change, while allowing teachers to wear a niqab, will require them to wear their staff identification badges when interacting with students. They will also be required to remove the face covering, in environments conducive to doing so, when teaching children under the age of 10 – the wording of the rule-change provides much leeway for teachers to keep wearing the niqab, even when teaching students aged 10 and younger, should the environment be deemed ‘not conducive.’

Minister of Home Affairs, Sheikh Imran Abdulla, in a post to social media said, “Thank you very much, Minister [of Education] @aisthly [Aishath Ali] and President @ibusolih [Ibrahim Mohamed Solih] for amending the rule whereby clearing the confusion about the opportunity for niqab-wearing sisters in the education sector to work in Islamic dress as proposed by the Adhaalath Party.”