Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Iran bans teaching of English in schools after 'cultural invasion' warning

Iran’s supreme leader has criticised foreign influence through languages in the past Iran’s supreme leader has criticised foreign influence through languages in the past
Melinda Barton | 10 January, 2018, 11:08

Shiva, a teacher of English at an affluent northern Tehran school, also criticised the proposed ban.

Supreme Education Council Secretary Mehdi Navid-Adham announced late on Saturday that "teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations".

He continued: "This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid".

Iranian officials have banned the teaching of English in primary schools.

In Iran, where Persian is the official language, instruction in the English language usually begins in middle school - where pupils generally are aged 12-14 - but some primary schools with younger pupils also offer English classes.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has previously lambasted the spread of English to younger students, though the language has persisted as citizens in the Islamic Republic use it to connect to the global community in academia, business and other fields.

Some children from more privileged families receive tuition at private language institutes after school, while those attending non-government schools receive English lessons from daycare through high school. He added that the government may also stop non-curriculum English classes.

Khamenei accused Western countries of promoting their cultures with Iranian youth as a way of expanding their influence in Iran, according to his office's website.

He says the language of science is not necessarily English and that children should be taught other languages like Spanish, French, or eastern languages.

Many middle class families already take their kids to independent language institutions after school hours because the methods used to teach English at normal schools aren't very successful.

While there was no mention of the announcement being linked to more than a week of protests against the clerical establishment and government, Iran's Revolutionary Guard has said that unrest was also fomented by foreign enemies.

The current protests could have enormous significance for the future of Iran and are focused on a number of issues. A number of Iranians have jokingly called it "The filtering of English".

The Telegram messaging app has been blocked since last week after it became a platform for protesters to organise rallies.