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Lawmakers In Iran Want To Ban Teaching Of English In Public Schools

A female instructor teaching girls in an all-girl school in Iran. All schools are gender-segregated in Iran. File photo

A large group of Iranian lawmakers have submitted a proposal in parliament to stop the teaching of English as a second language in public schools, citing remarks by the country’s Supreme Leader.

Three years ago, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei complained in a speech that teaching English was spreading even “into daycare” institutions.

Now, 57 members of parliament are backing a draft law that if passed will bar the teaching of English in government schools and will be taught only in private institutions, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.

The draft law also bans the hiring of English teachers by the ministry.

The law would also require universities to sign agreements of cooperation with countries whose languages are offered in courses to students. The purpose of this point is not clear.

The leading lawmakers behind the draft law are hardliner politicians supporting Ali Khamenei but there are also some so-called reformist and independent members of parliament have also signed the proposed draft.

It is common knowledge in Iran

that children of many Islamic Republic politicians go abroad for higher education, in some cases with government scholarships.

One year before Khamenei’s remarks against learning English, President Hassan Rouhani had said English is the language of science and had added that young people understand “it is necessity” in modern life. After these remark, Khamenei banned teaching English in elementary schools.