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Teachers Brand Iran’s Ideological School Curricula ‘Dead End’ For Kids

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School teachers have claimed regime reforms have turned the country’s schools into “religious and military bases”.

In an interview with Khabar online on Monday, teachers expressed concern about the plans to “shift schools away from their primary function”, resulting in a “dead end” for children.

Teacher Mohammadreza Niknejad told Khabar Online that “authorities have failed in the education sector” as students do not accept today’s school teachings. Furthermore, he added that ideological and religious studies have taken over most of the content of the school curriculum, even science, causing students to lose interest in the subject.

In line with the government’s propaganda policies and the order of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei the content of textbooks has changed in the last few years. In November, Reza Morad Sahraei, the Minister of Education, insisted on the need for gender-specific school curricula and confirmed changes in textbooks.

Teacher Mohammadreza Niknejad

Sahraei also stressed the Islamic Republic’s rejection of both the “Eastern perspective” and the feminist perspective, deeming the latter to be “deviant.” A second teacher, Narges Malekzadeh, also noted the role students played in last year’s protests and warned of future demonstrations: “If we do not maintain communication with students, they may become frustrated and protests may happen again.”

Teachers staged a mass demonstration since the government did not take any tangible measures to identify and pursue the perpetrators, or to explain what was happening to their terrified parents and students. According to Amnesty International’s report in April, since November 2022, thousands of schoolgirls have been poisoned and hospitalized in Iran. A trend that also continued at the beginning of this academic year.

In response to teachers’ and students’ protests, the government introduced a program of mass dismissals at schools known as the ‘purge’. A tightening of security was also implemented around teacher recruitment. There is now a six-month selection period for teachers in non-government schools, in addition to the standard 15 days.

Narges Malekzadeh

To compensate for the lost staff caused by the “purge”, the Education Ministry integrated religious teachers into the school system. Under a program called “Amin”, they recruited 21,000 seminary graduates to teach in 7 thousand schools. Ministers in President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration have praised the “revolutionary” nature of the education ministry. In September, it was reported that Iran’s Minister of Education had replaced over 20,000 principals.

The presence of religious teachers as part of the “Amin” program has become common at schools, however, students have a “negative attitude toward them and also they have a negative attitude towards students,” Malekzadeh explained.

In addition, the Education Ministry announced in December that seminary-affiliated schools will be established as part of the ministry’s “Mosque, School, and Home” initiative.

In October, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to open Russian schools in Iran, though questions remain as to the nature of the proposed curriculums and their place in Iran’s evermore religious Islamic curriculum.