Eh no, and Islam is not needed in Finland either…
Regional daily Savon Sanomat reports that Finland lacks competent teachers of Islam. According to the paper, there are currently only 20 qualified teachers for 10,000 Muslim pupils in Finland, while 100 are needed.
Tuomo Laakso from the Trade Union for Education OAJ says that at the moment many teach the subject without appropriate qualifications. A teacher of Islam must have a Master’s degree, which includes pedagogical studies in the subject.
“But currently, the teachers of Islam have very diverse backgrounds: Some may be experts in Islam, others may have studied at the university, or even be qualified as teachers, but in another subject,” Laakso says.
Because of the shortage of competent teachers, Laakso proposes an easier route to becoming one.
“We need a special educational programme, where those with some university studies could apply. The course would be temporary and funded by the state,” he says.
If a school is unable to offer instruction to pupils in a given faith, a religious community may organise it instead. However, in that case it is impossible for the school to monitor the curriculum, according to Laakso.
A community group, the Muslims of Helsinki, is concerned that Islam is taught to children by non-Muslims. In Finnish schools this is possible, because religion instruction can be given by persons not affiliated with the faith.
“Of course we hope, and even demand, that a Muslim child receives education in Islam by another Muslim,” says imam Juho Heinonen.
“We have received complaints about atheist teachers, who say they do not believe in God,” he adds.
“In such cases, we have organised instruction outside the school, in a mosque or elsewhere.”