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Iran bans teaching of English in primary schools

Iran has banned the teaching of English language in its primary schools, according to international media reports. The department for education said the move was made due to the perception that English is a “cultural invasion”.

Tehran is not banning the study of English entirely, but opportunities for younger learners will be restricted.Tehran is not banning the study of English entirely, but opportunities for younger learners will be restricted. Photo: Flickr/ Ninara

The ban does not affect private language tuition outside of the state education system

The ban is not a blanket ban on the study of the English language, as the discipline will continue for older age groups.

The Iranian education system is divided into primary and secondary levels, and English tuition will continue at the secondary level.

English is widely studied in the Islamic Republic, and it is understood that the levels of popularity at senior levels led to primary schools initiating English provision.

Khamenei blamed the trend on so-called “Western influences”

Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the government High Education Council commented that the move was made to improve understanding of Persian culture among the younger generation of Iranians.

“[It will strengthen] Persian language skills and Iranian Islamic culture of pupils at the primary school stage,” he said.

The action comes two years after the religious leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, gave a speech directed to teachers which criticised the extension of availability of English language tuition to younger Iranians.

Analysts have argued that Khamenei blamed the trend on so-called ‘Western influences’. In the 2016 speech, he said the developments in English teaching were indicative of outside influences attempting to impress “thought and culture to the younger generation”.

However, the ban does not affect private language tuition outside of the state education system.

The policy change comes amid political and social unrest in Iran. At least 21 people have been killed in recent weeks, as protests against decreasing living standards expanded and were seen by some as protesting the Islamic regime in Tehran.

Khamenei blamed the protests on what he described as external enemies.

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