Two female Muslim students were refused entry to their examination yesterday morning (Tuesday). This was because they were wearing the veil. They are students at the French Community’s Institute for Education in Social Advancement (FCIESA) in Uccle.
This information, disclosed on RTBF (the French radio and television channel) was confirmed by Stéphanie Wilmet, the spokeswoman for the Minister for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (WBF), Isabelle Simonis. Simonis is responsible for Education in Social Advancement.
In the end, the board of the WBF allowed both women to sit their examination, explaining that a new procedural rule (PR), coming into force on September 1st will indeed prohibit wearing of visible religious belief symbols.
The Minister requested FCIESA-Uccle that the students concerned could sit their second round of examinations, following the institution’s procedures in force when they enrolled on the course. It also sought additional information on the motives for this refusal. All students enrolling in the academic year 2016-2017 should respect the establishment’s procedure.
Following this incident, the Minister will now, before September 1st, send a circular to the various establishments in the WBF network.
This will ask that, until the end of the second round of examinations, student rights, as stated in each establishment’s individual procedures, are strictly adhered to.
In the event of any alterations, Simonis is calling upon education establishments to deploy a mass internal communication and put in place transitional measures for those affected by such a procedural change.
Although social advancement institutions have the right to authorise or prohibit the wearing of visible religious symbols, she specifically reminds institutions of the obligation to justify this decision.
The Minister reminds the Belgian authorities that teaching of social advancement intended for adults, plays a fundamental role in the emancipation of individuals.
She also reiterates her trust in educational teams to enable this objective and guarantee a calm climate.