School's licence removed over single-sex teaching
James Savage · 19 Jun 2007, 15:58
Published: 19 Jun 2007 15:58 GMT+02:00
The Beit Menachem School in Gothenburg, a small school with twenty pupils from two families, teaches boys and girls separately for religious reasons. They are also kept apart during breaks.
Gerhard Eriksson, at the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) said that teaching boys and girls in separate groups violates Swedish law.
"The Swedish curriculum talks about girls and boys living together and learning together," Eriksson told The Local.
"We permit separate classes for sexual education, but not the whole time," he said.
Alexander Namder, administrator at the school, said the ruling was not based on sound educational thinking:
"I think this decision is due to leftist political ideals and not based on pedagogical reasons."
"There are religious schools in England and other normal countries where boys and girls are taught separately," he continued.
The school argued that teaching boys and girls separately was allowed under the European Convention of Human Rights. The agency said that even if the arrangement did not break European conventions, it still broke Swedish law.
With one of the families with children at the school due soon to move to England, lessons were not planned to continue in the autumn even before the latest decision. Nonetheless, Alexander Namder said if it were not for the other family leaving in the autumn, he would continue the fight in the courts.
"It would be a matter of principle," he said.