One of the notable characteristics of fundamentalist Islam is the strict segregation of the sexes. Interactions between men and women who are not related to one another are tightly regulated, if not prohibited.
But Islam is not the only religion which separates the sexes. Orthodox Judaism is also very restrictive about interaction between males and females.
In an earlier post, Zerosumgame brought to our attention the case of a Jewish school in Gothenburg which is being sanctioned by the Swedish school authorities for separating boys and girls. He and Phanarath requested that we supply a separate thread on this topic.
Our Swedish correspondent LN located the material for this post in the Swedish media, and a Swede who calls himself Carpenter volunteered to do the translation into English.
So this post is very much a group effort.
It appears that the Jewish school in Gothenburg was not singled out because it was Jewish, but for simple violations of Swedish school regulations (whatever one might think of those).
But the unanswered questions are these: What would have happened if the school had been Muslim instead of Jewish? Would it have been sanctioned in the same way?
There is probably no way to answer these questions, since Muslims are so numerous in Sweden, and Jews so few, that it is unlikely that an Islamic school would find itself in the position of having so few pupils.
And now for Carpenter’s translations:
These articles are about the Jewish elementary “free-school” (friskola; a non-tax-funded school or private school) Beit Menachem in Gothenburg, which has lost its permit to educate Jewish pupils due to “several violations” and the fact that that the school separates girls and boys in different classes.
Jewish school loses its permit after criticism
Keeps boys and girls separated
The Jewish ground-school [elementary school] has several serious violations, according to the School Authority [Skolverket]. Hence, the school’s approval is being revoked.
The school Beit Menachem consistently organizes education and recreational activities in segregated boy- and girl-groups.
“It is not compatible with the values and objectives which are expressed in the school legislation,” writes Skolverket in a message to the press.
Skolverket has also criticized the deficiency of the students’ influence, and the unequal share of responsibility between the principal and the students. One more criticized failure is that there are fewer than twenty students, all from the same family. According to the school law, every school must have at least twenty pupils.
“The deficiencies are so serious that the approval can no longer be given,” writes Skolverket.
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Free-school is being threatened with revoked permit
Once again, the Jewish free-school Beit Menachem in Änggården is being threatened with a revoked permit. Besides the fact that the students are still too few, this time it also concerns boys and girls being kept in distinct groups – even during the breaks.
In Skolverket’s latest inspection, several deficiencies were found. Except for some smaller concerns , the criticism is directed towards two main points:
“First of all, they separate by gender, both in the teaching and during the breaks. They do so due to the Orthodox interpretation of their religion; they’re Hasidim, and girls do not interact with boys. But separation between girls and boys is against the curriculum as Skolverket construes it. Secondly, the school has too few pupils,” says Gerhard Eriksson, Skolverket’s education counsel in Gothenburg.
Beit Menachem School has nine pupils, but normally a free-school must have at least twenty pupils to receive aid from the municipality.
Skolverket has now decided to withdraw the school’s permit, if they have not solved their problems before April 13th or have clearly presented how the problems will be attended to.
However, if the school appeals in court, the process can take several years, and in the meantime the school can be run as usual.
But the school has got another matter hanging over it. As recently as 2005, Skolverket intended to withdraw its permit, with the only reason at that time being that there were too few students. The school appealed the decision in Länsrätten [the County Administrative Court], which judged in the favor of Skolverket, and then in Kammarrätten [the Administrative Court of Appeals], which judged in favor of the school.
Now, Regeringsrätten [the Supreme Administrative Court] has recently approved a new trial.
“Since it is with municipal aid the school is being financed, it must follow Swedish school legislation. It is our task to look at it and our duty to make sure it is followed,” says Gerhard Eriksson.
GP [Göteborgs-Posten] has contacted staff from the school, but they did not want to comment on the report or say what position they take on the new requirements for change.
“But what we have discovered so far is that they have no intention of changing the groups separated by gender. This is difficult and complex stuff,” says Gerhard Eriksson.