Gaza’s Hamas-controlled parliament has passed a law requiring separate classes for boys and girls in public and private schools from the fourth grade.
Osama Mazini, the Hamas education minister, said on Monday that the law which was issued on February 10, was approved by the Palestinian group’s legislative council and went into effect on Sunday.
Article 46 of the law, seen by AFP news agency, will “ban the mixing of students from the two sexes in educational establishments after the age of nine, and work to ‘feminise’ girls’ schools.”
Hamas has in the past moved to enforce conservative religious laws, including telling schoolgirls in Gaza to wear traditional full-length robes and headscarves in the besieged territory.
The newly approved education law also forbids the “receipt of gifts or aid aimed at normalising (relations) with the Zionist occupation (Israel).”
The law, which also bars male teachers from teaching in girls’ schools, will go into effect at the start of the new school year in September.
Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, after it won a landslide victory in a Palestinian general election a year before against rival West-Bank based Fatah.