DEPED's Statement on DepEd Order 32 s.2013 "Strengthening the Protection of Religious Rights of Students"

Statement of Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro FSC:

It has come to my attention that several news articles on DepEd Order 32 s.2013 “Reiterating DECS Order No. 53 s.2001 (Strengthening the Protection of Religious Rights of Students)” have been published with misleading headlines (e.g. “DepEd orders Muslim teachers to unveil in class,”“Muslim teachers instructed not to wear veils during classes,”“Muslim teachers asked to remove veils in classrooms,” etc.)

Such headlines give readers the impression that the DepEd is ordering female Muslim teachers to remove their head covering (hijab). What the order actually states is that teachers handling Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) are requested to remove the veil covering the face (niqab) when teaching in the classroom.

This is to promote better teacher-pupil relationship and to support effective language teaching since seeing the teacher’s lips helps in the correct production of letter sounds.

The DepEd is available for questions or clarifications regarding issuances such as this. I hope that in the future we check our facts and check the actual text of the Department Order before jumping to conclusions.

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