By The Free Iranian Staff
Fifty-seven members of the Islamic parliament (Majles), are endorsing a draft law that if passed will restrict the teaching of English in public schools in Iran. The law allows private institutions under the supervision of the Ministry of Education to teach English.
The lawmakers submitted the proposal in Majles, citing Khamenei’s remarks from three years ago.
In May 2016, in a meeting with teachers and educators, Ali Khamenei criticized young Iranians whom he called “nouveau riche punks” and ordered a reform in the “standard of assimilation” in Iran. He claimed that the “abominable promotion” of the English language, had made for an atmosphere of “tolerance for the repugnant and untoward” and was the cause for many “social damages” occurring in the country. He even complained that teaching English was spreading even “into daycare” institutions.
The draft law also forbids employing English teachers by the ministry and requires universities to sign agreements of cooperation with countries whose languages are offered in courses to students. The plan’s objective is vague.
In remote and deprived areas where there are no open educational establishments and the academic provisions in all approved languages, are provided in collaboration with one of the universities designing the project. But given the overwhelming demand by students for one or two languages, only students in the theoretical fields can apply.
These issues were raised in the Islamic Parliament when a number of experts called the plan unethical and negligent. They believe that teaching English in schools will lead to privatization and therefore, the corruption of scholastic system, which is contrary to Article 30 of the Khomeinist regime’s own constitution.
Mehdi Navid-Adham, secretary of the Higher Education and Academic Council, commented by saying: ” The Ministry of Education is not aware of the plan and we do not know exactly what the members of Parliament are thinking. In many cities, especially in the deprived provinces, we do not have [private of open] language institutes; this must be clarified.”
While the children of many Khomeinist regime politicians go abroad for higher education, in some cases fully funded by the government, many poor students from rural areas are deprived and their opportunities are ever decreasing as a result of the whims of the Islamic authorities, which are then passed into random mandates.
The names of the 57 signatories are as follows: