The Salient Features of the Educational System

The establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran ushered in a new era in the country’s educational system. In an attempt to neutralize the impact of decades old modern educational values and institutions, the new regime embarked on the course of Islamization of Iranian schools. Thus, almost immediately after the Islamic Revolution, schools’ curricula and textbooks were substantially revised on the basis of Islamic values and code of conduct. Furthermore, students’ behavior and social activities became legitimate subject of supervision and control by both school authorities and government-appointed morality committees. For the Islamic regime, Islamization of the whole educational system was the prerequisite for the creation of the "Islamic individual" and the development of the ideal "Islamic society." Apart from the transformation of its curricula, Iranian educational system has, in the last two decades, witnessed an unprecedented rate of expansion of educational coverage, particularly at the middle and high school levels. However, this quantitative growth has been coupled with significant growth of inequality of opportunity between male and female students, between various provinces, and between urban and rural areas.

Twenty years after the initiation of the process of the Islamization of Iranian educational system, the most serious problem facing the system is the deepening contradiction between the values set forth in the official educational programs and the needs and cultural proclivities of the Iranian youth. It is in this growing contradiction that one must look for the root cause of the current identity crisis that is besetting a new generation of young Iranians.

Saeed Paivandi
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