Norway currently has the largest influx of asylum-seekers in Europe. It is in the midst of a crisis with respect to its immigrant population, especially the Muslims.
The political elites seem determined to deal with the crisis by further deference to Islam, and recent signs point the way to full dhimmitude. The latest example is the segregation of the sexes in school swimming classes out of respect for Muslim sensibilities. This, of course, would violate the human rights of the students if any other religion besides Islam were behind it.
Gender-separated swimming classes in Oslo
Out of consideration to Muslim students sensitivity, boys and girls at Møllergata Elementary school in Oslo are separated during physical exercise and swimming classes. Even the teachers have to be of the ‘correct’ gender.
“This dilemma arose as a direct result of the immigration to the city. Muslim girls are not allowed to take part in physical exercise and swimming classes where boys are present. As a result of this the school had to come up with alternative solutions,” says Eva Kjøge, the school principal.
She recently took up the position as principal at the school and she has not yet decided whether to scrap the controversial practice, that has been going on for years now.
“The arrangements were introduced about ten years ago. I only started in August this year and I want to see how it works before I decide whether to make any changes. This is an issue that also needs to be discussed with the parents,” she says.
Could be illegal
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Boys only and girls only classes in physical exercise and swimming could be in violation of the Education law. According to this law, students shall not be divided into groups on the base of their skill levels, gender or ethnicity.
However Principal Eva Kjøge points out that the principle of offering specialized education according to the particular needs of the individual students is a principle that has a prominent position in the Norwegian school, and points out that the gender-segregated education only involves one subject.
“This only involves physical education classes, and not any other subjects,” she says.
At Hersleb and Vahl Elementary schools in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Grønland in Oslo there is no such practice of separating the genders in the physical exercise classes.
“It has never been an issue at our school. The students are allowed to dress as they like, and there has never been any suggestions of gender-separated classes. Some students don’t participate in the swimming lessons, but they are, however, being offered specialized women-only swimming lessons after regular school hours,” says Trine Haugen, principal at Vahl Elementary school to NTB.
At Møllergata Elementary school this separation of boys and girls is motivated primarily by religious and cultural considerations, and is based on the principle of modesty, but Kjøge insists that there can be strong educational reasons to keep boys and girls separate.
“It can be wise to keep them separate in certain activities such as ball games, where it can be more beneficial for girls to be on their own.”
Had to stop
Last year the Fylkesmannen [similar to state Governor] in Oppland decided that Kringsjå school in Lillehammer was violating the Education Law when it separated the genders in physical exercise classes, art and crafts classes and nature and environmental classes. The separation of the genders in this case was based on educational considerations, because there was an environment with lots of conflicts at the school in question, and because the girls were in a minority.
“Short-term separation based on gender is possible, but not for a year and a half,” said fylkesmann Kristin Hille Valla and chairman of education Trond Johnsen to Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen [local newspaper] in November last year. This led to a change in policy by the school in question in this matter
The Education Department does not wish to comment on the situation at Møllergata Elementary school, but points out that the Education Law allows for gender-separated classes in certain specific cases, provided there are strong compelling reasons for this, and that this practice doesn’t create any precedents.