A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has opposed the elimination of homework for school children on religious grounds.
Recognized by the Islamic Republic as a Grand Ayatollah, Jafar Sobhani has issued a statement that "Eliminating homework is wrong, and against the Quran, Islamic tradition, and ulema's lifestyle."
Clerics in Iran emphatically refer to themselves as 'ulema' an Arabic plural word, which literally means "The knowledgeable ones".
Sobhani, 89, has insisted that schoolchildren should not be set loose after school hours, adding, "Their brains should exercise by doing homework."
The official Grand Ayatollah asserts, "If one seeks reaching high positions, he should be hard-working. Nobody achieves high goals through an easy-going life."
In September, Iranian Deputy Minister of Education had announced that homework would be eliminated in the current educational year for first to third grade schoolchildren. The policy would gradually apply to higher grades, the official had promised.
"Research and studies prove that text-copying and homework not only have no effect on children's education but, they lead to tension between the kids and their parents," he told the government's official news agency, IRNA.
The plan is to add two school-hours to teaching schoolchildren technical skills without subjecting them to tests and complimentary lessons.
The ministry's plans have apparently worried managers of companies providing supplementary classes across Iran, who reportedly have a lucrative business.
There are social media comments claiming that the managers of these institutions have reached out to Ayatollah Sobhani to abort the Ministry of Education's plan to encourage schoolchildren to receive technical skills.
Officially recognized Grand Ayatollahs in Iran have recently intensified their involvement in the social and political affairs by presenting guidelines on a potpourri of subjects, including education, banning women from sports arenas, and concerts.