Iran has banned English from being taught in primary schools after the country’s Supreme Leader said learning the language in the early years paved the way for a Western “cultural invasion”.
A senior education official announced the language had been banned because the Iranian culture of students is established during primary level education.
In Iran, where Persian is the country’s official national language, primary school starts at the age of six and lasts for six years.
While the teaching of English generally starts in middle school in Iran – which students attend around the ages of 12 to 14 – some primary schools below that age also have English classes.
“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state run High Education Council, said on state television late on Saturday.
He continued: “This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid”.
He said non-curriculum English classes may also be blocked under the new rules.
Iran’s Shia-Islamist leaders have often issued pleas about the risks posed by a “cultural invasion”.
In 2016 Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the final say in all state matters, expressed fury about the “teaching of the English language spreading to nursery schools”.
According to the text of that particular speech to teachers posted on a website run by his office, Khamenei said: “That does not mean opposition to learning a foreign language, but [this is the] promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths.”
Read full article by Maya Oppenheim on The Independent, January 8, 2018.