Veil ban in schools sees Muslim girls get better grades, study finds

The wearing of a veil and other "ostentatious religious signs" were banned in all French schools in 2004

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A ban on veils in schools leads to Muslim girls getting better grades, a study in France has found.

The wearing of a veil and other "ostentatious religious signs" were banned in all French schools in 2004.

The decision was criticised by some, including religious leaders, who argued that it would lead to an increase in persecution.

But fresh research has now found that the removal of veils in schools may have actually had some positive effects.

Women wearing veils in France
Women wearing veils in France
The study was carried out in French schools
The study was carried out in French schools

Muslim women who were born between 1971 and 1974 were 13 percent less likely to graduate from high school compared to non-Muslim students.

But that figure dropped to just seven percent in women born between 1987 and 1990 who attended school during the ban.

Proffesor Eric Maurin from the Paris School of Economics and co-owner of the study, said: “For students who wore the veil, the ban may have had a negative effect on those who were most attached to it, as it may have led them to drop out of school.

“But the ban may also have had a positive effect on students who were forced to wear the veil and on students suffering from stigmatisation and discrimination in school because of it.”

He added: “When comparing women in the Muslim group to those in the non-Muslim group, the data reveals a very significant increase in educational attainment in the Muslim group for the cohorts that attended middle school and reached puberty after the ban.

“This increase clearly coincides with the implementation of the circular: the more years the Muslim group women spent in middle school after the circular the higher their educational attainment.”

The veil ban has been the centre of much debate during the ongoing French Presidential election.

Marine Le Pen has previously said she would impose a blanket ban of the headscarf in all public settings if she wins.

She said: “It’s an Islamist uniform that I would ban in public places. (It is) the uniform of an ideology, not a religion”.

Current French President Emmanual Macron responded by saying: “There is no country in the world where the headscarf is banned in public. Do you want to be the first?

“Under the constitution, if she bans the veil, she’ll have to ban the kippa, the cross and other religious symbols.”