A policy permitting Muslim males to decline to shake hands with females at a public school is "sexist", the NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes says.

The Hurstville Boys Campus of Georges River College in Sydney last year agreed to an "agreed protocol" for its annual awards day which allowed some boys to decline to shake hands with several female presenters.

That move has been criticised by several high-profile Islamic figures, as well as Mr Stokes' colleagues, although the Education Department has stood by the protocols which it said would create "an open and tolerant attitude".

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