In a recent speech, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei emphasized the government’s commitment to maintaining control over the country’s education system and dismissed any notion of privatizing it.
However, the reality is that Iran’s education system has been plagued by significant deficiencies caused by the regime, resulting in high dropout rates and a large population of undereducated children.
Instead of addressing these challenges, the regime exacerbates the suffering of children by suppressing their participation in protests, leading to many absences from school. This clearly demonstrates that education is not a top priority for the regime, rendering the supreme leader’s claims irrelevant.
The appointment of Ebrahim Raisi as president further contributed to the turmoil the Ministry of Education faced. Initially, Alireza Kazemi, the Deputy Minister of Education, assumed the role of Acting Minister.
Subsequently, Youssef Nouri, a tourism management specialist, was appointed as the Minister of Education, but he resigned after only two years. Reza Sahrai has been managing the ministry since then.
The constant reshuffling of ministers and supervisors over the past decade reflects the instability within the ministry. This situation has even drawn criticism from Khamenei himself, who expressed surprise at the chaotic state of affairs.
The incompetence of the ministry is evident in the ongoing protests by teachers, who have been voicing their grievances about low incomes and poor living conditions for years.
Over 1.4 million teachers, who are the future of the nation, bear the responsibility of educating 16 million students.
One can only imagine the dire conditions of the education system when teachers struggle to make ends meet, living below the poverty line. Furthermore, most teachers lack the necessary resources and equipment to provide a quality education.
Remarkably, but unfortunately, unsurprisingly, the regime even fails to respect and acknowledge the country’s intellectuals and teachers. The state-run daily Alef revealed that teachers are increasingly being ignored and reduced to mere observers in the classroom.
However, the most distressing aspect of this crisis is the presence of nearly one million children deprived of any education.
According to a report by the regime’s Majlis Research Center, in the academic year 2021-2022, 911,272 children and teenagers couldn’t go to school, and over 279,000 students dropped out.
The provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, West Azarbaijan, Razavi Khorasan, North Khorasan, and Golestan have the highest rates of education dropouts. In the past six years, the number of students leaving school has increased by more than 17% nationwide.
This dire situation has prompted some experts and officials within the regime to refer to it as a dangerous “national issue.” Moreover, in addition to lacking a minister, the Ministry of Education faces a shortage of 300,000 teachers and 50,000 tutors.
It is ludicrous that the regime attempts to address the shortage of teachers and educators by employing illiterate mullahs and scholars. Even more catastrophic is the fact that thousands of individuals are paid as teachers but work in other organizations, further exacerbating the crisis in education.