For 43 years, a state-backed mafia has dominated Iran and the entire ministries, offices, institutions, and even private and non-profit sectors. In this context, officials do not see schools, particularly non-profit ones, as a means for improving public knowledge and training students.
Instead, they look at these institutions as an instrument to line their pockets with people’s money. Therefore, such schools are considered markets and trade zones rather than a place for ‘excellent education.’ These ‘non-profit’ centers with heavy tuitions have brought numerous dilemmas to the country’s education system.
Who Is Educating at Non-Profit Schools?
Regarding heavy tuitions and rampant poverty, which has led more than 60 million of Iran’s population below the poverty line, students at such schools do not belong to low-income or working families and middle classes.
Indeed, the children of around 80 percent of society have been dropped out due to financial difficulties. In best-case scenarios, such families register their students at public schools, ignoring ‘excellent education.’ Indeed, families must pay tuition to even public and state-run schools despite the government’s false claims about free education.
In such circumstances, families below the absolute poverty line or the ‘existence line’ prefer to feed their children instead of sending them to schools.
Non-Profit Schools and Huge Profits
In contrast to their ‘religious’ claims, authorities’ primary purpose is to gain more profits through any means. They weigh various elements and even public infrastructure to further increase their income.
The ayatollahs have constructed and promoted thousands of public and non-profit schools, colleges, and universities while their outdated explanations profoundly differ from such institutions. Iranian officials refuse to provide free education—despite the constitution having called for it—while many countries recognize mandatory education.
The Iranian regime has kept the population in the dark to ensure its grip on power. In this context, more than one million students are forced to abandon education due to the lack of free education and expensive costs of stationary, tuition, and destroyed infrastructure.
“Economic privileges are the main purpose of these schools,” emphasized Aftab-e Yazd daily in its March 3 edition under the title of ‘The disaster of non-profit schools for education.’ “Non-profit schools compete for more students, confusing the parents… While founders and schools try to gain huge revenues through registering more students, many of these schools are ineligible.”
Meanwhile, school principals use every trick to lower their expenses and increase profits. For instance, they hire college students rather than recruiting professional teachers. “Due to the lack of job and dire economic conditions, many students succumb to the schools’ demands and ignore their basic rights and adequate salaries,” Aftab-e Yazd mentioned.
“The percentage of non-profit schools, which use [students] is very high. This is because of financial issues that have been aggravated, particularly due to worsening economic conditions and dwindling schools’ revenues,” says education expert Mohammad Reza Niknejad. “Therefore, the root of this issue mainly goes back to the economic situation.”
Teachers Suffer from Non-Standard Conditions
“The condition of teachers at non-profit schools is catastrophic,” Iran’s observers say. “These student teachers have been deprived of their fundamental rights and are subjected to oppressive behavior. They cannot even complain and will lose their careers if they do.”
Likewise, reports say many teachers at non-profit schools do not have insurance. In some cases, the principals gave 15-day insurance to student-teachers to circumvent their legal claims. Also, they receive almost $60 per month while the poverty line has surpassed $400 for a family of four, based on official statistics.
“They say non-profit schools’ teachers should not receive less than $94—the minimum wage for teachers. Yet the schools make 15-day deals, and teachers mostly receive less than $94,” a teacher said to Shahrvand Online website on January 2. “They easily say anyone who complains should go to the Education Ministry.”
Indeed, evidence shows that these schools are run by the state-backed mafia, which has targeted the education sector to take advantage. Such performance has not only left the education system vulnerable but also threatened the country’s next generation and culture.