Iranian Educational System

Figure 1.-- This photograph was descried as 'Musul'manskaia shkola Shkola (mekteb-khane)', a Muslim school in Persia or Turkish Central Asia. It was taken sione tine between 1865-72. The photograph shows students seated outdoors gathered around a teacher. Source: Turkestanskii al'bom, chast' etnograficheskaia, 1871-1872, part 2, vol. 1, p. 67.

We have very little information about Iranian schools at this time. We know nothing about schools in ancient Persia. With the Arab invasion and Islamization (8h century), edication was confined largly to the mosque. Literacy rates were very low into the modern era. The clergy (both Shia and Sunni, assumed responsibility for instructing interested youth (mean boys) in basic literacy and the fundamentals of Islam. Literacy was not seen as needed by the enire population. Thus any kind of serious education was limited to the sons of the upper class. This woud mean a few years of what might be caled primary-level education in a school (maktab). These were attached to local mosques. Those who desired more advanced schooling could continue studies in a religious college (madraseh) with aider curciculum but still confined primrily to Islam. This situation was oprt of the general bckwardnesses theougout the Muslim world fromMorocco east to central Asia where society were little changed since medievl times. With the advent of the 19th century, some Persians saw the obvious need for subjects beyond the scope of the traditional religious curriculum (accounting, European languages, mathematics, science, and technology) led to the Government establishment the first secular school (1851). It might be called a university, but teaching was more on the secionry level because of the limited eductional preparation of the students. This was for years the only institution of higher education in the country. The first modern primary school was founded by Haji Mirza Hassan Tabrizi . A few additionl secular schools for boys were founded in the late-19th and early-20th century. We have on image of schoolboys in Yzed about 1908. It was not until the Pahlavi era (1925-79) that the Government made aserious beginning at building building a modern education system. This was part of wide ranging political and cultural reforms. The Government began modernizing and expanded the education system. The Ministry of Education (MOE) was assigned responsibility for regulating all public and private schools. The MOE prepared a uniform curriculum for primary and for secondary education. The public system was established as secular, largely on the French model. The goal was to begin to train Iranians for technical positions needed in a modern economy (administration, management, science, and teaching). This basic education reform began the creation of substantial secularized middle class. It also began the education of girls for the first time. While this opriocess was limited by the cost, after World War II when the oil money began to increase the capabilities, major advances began to be mase in public education. The Islamic Revolution reversed the policy of secular education. Islam became a major component of Iranian education at all levels at a prerequisite for university studies.


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Created: 4:05 AM 3/18/2013
Last updated: 4:05 AM 3/18/2013