Norway is the latest European country to propose banning the full-face veil in nurseries, schools and universities, typically worn by women of Muslim faith.

The bill is expected to be passed next year, making Norway the first Scandinavian country to impose a ban on wearing the face veil, the niqab or burqa, which covers the woman's face and entire body. Other face-covering clothing, such as balaclavas and masks, will also be banned.

The Norwegian government said that face-covering clothing hinders communication between teachers and students.

"These clothes prevent good communication, which is important for students to receive a good education," the Minister of Education and Research, Torbjorn Roe Isaksen, said in a statement on Monday (12 June).

"Face-covering garment such as the niqab or burqa do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value," acting Minister of Immigration and Integration, Per Sandberg, said at a press conference.

He said that students who do not follow the new law could face expulsion and that university employees who decide to wear a veil would risk losing their jobs.

Local authorities are already able to stop students from wearing full-face veils in schools, but there currently no national law.

Critics say that the ban is "unnecessary" as there are few people who wear a niqab or burqa in Norway.

"There are very, very few who use the niqab, so this is marginal problem in the integration context. Therefore, I believe the proposal is not necessary," Linda Noor of Minotenk, a think tank focusing on minority issues, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed restrictions on wearing full-face veils in public places.

In May, Austria approved controversial legislation that would see women who wear a niqab or burqa in public fined €150 (£133). Austria's own President, Alexander van der Bellen, publicly condemned the ban, telling school students that "it is every woman's right to always dress how she wants."