Cairo University, one of Egypt’s oldest institutes of higher learning, has barred lecturers from wearing the niqab (full Islamic face-veil) in class.
Cairo University President Gaber Nasser said the decision was aimed at “improving communication” between lecturers and students.
The niqab, which covers a woman’s entire body from head to toe, is worn by women of ultraconservative Muslim backgrounds.
In Egypt, however, it is only worn by a small minority of women.
“It is forbidden for members of the teaching staff in all faculties — or their assistants — to deliver lectures while wearing the niqab,” the university said in its decision.
The ban, which went into effect on Tuesday, is expected to prompt a public outcry in Muslim-majority Egypt.
In 2008, Egypt saw heated public debate over the wearing of the niqab when Al-Azhar University, the country’s highest seat of religious learning, banned the outfit citing security concerns.
Egypt has been roiled by turmoil since the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi — the country’s first freely elected leader — after only one year in office.