By INU Staff
INU- After nationwide strikes earlier this month, an Iranian teachers’ union has written an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to express in more detail what led the teachers to abandon their posts and stage sit-ins instead.
The Iranian Teachers’ Organization (ITO), in a letter dated October 19, cites that educators and other school staff have been some of the “most vocal supporters” of the Rouhani administration, which promised “moderation and prudence”, but that five years in, these promises seem less and less likely to be fulfilled. Those in the education sector have remained hopeful that change is coming, but the ITO warns that if education remains so low on Rouhani’s list of priorities that “hope alone will not be viable”.
The statement read: “How long will we be able to argue with peaceful, dignified means — through democratic and civic activism — that education is critical to the balanced and comprehensive advancement of our country?
How long must we emphasize that education is not second to a safe and healthy Iran, but rather its prerequisite? How long must we belabour the fact written into the Educational Outlook, that the replacement of low-quality products with top-of-the-line imports is impossible in the realm of our country’s human resources?”
Educators are fed up with the status quo, which leaves them unable to properly educate children, as there is no money to improve facilities, and unable to properly take care of themselves or their family, because their wages are so low.
They explain that while the government has increased its revenue through increased oil sales, taxes, and currency exchange rates, many teachers are living below the poverty line and are further robbed by uncurbed inflation and price hikes that strip away at their purchasing power.
That’s why the ITO implored Rouhani to increase teachers’ salaries
The statement read: “It appears you believe everything is as it should be: teachers articulating their predicament with patience and humility, the exemplars of civic demonstration. Yet we are certain that recent events, widespread protests, and teachers’ lowered thresholds of tolerance could spell ongoing protests and turmoil for our education system.”
The ITO advised that Rouhani take this warning “seriously” and find the solutions to these issues quickly, to prevent further damage to the country.
Iranian teachers held a general strike across Iran on October 14 and 15 to protest their low wages and call for the release of imprisoned teachers like Mohammad Habibi, Esmaeil Abdi, and Mahmoud Beheshti Langeroudi.