The Results of Four Decades of Authoritarian Islamization of Education in Iran

Recorded: January 12, 2023
Event: Bilingual Lecture Series

by Saeed Paivandi (University of Lorraine, Nancy)

The advent of the Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) in 1979 constituted a paradigmatic turning point for the education system, which had a secular orientation since the constitutional revolution of 1906. In an effort to reshape institutions, such as the education system, that are perceived as “westernized,” the Islamic state has associated access to science with “authentic” forms of religious knowledge. The Islamization of the school and the allocation of a quarter of the curriculum to religious training aims to socialize religiously a new generation and use schools as a vehicle of ideological instrumentalization for socio-political control. This de-secularization of schools has generated a deep   gap between religious (Shiite) education grounded in the past tradition, and the secular and modern daily experiences of the youth at present. Coercive religious norms have intensified sex segregation and discrimination on the bases of gender and sexuality, religious and ethnic differences.  The recent uprising led by youth, especially girls, against the compulsory veil imposed by the Islamic State can be considered as a collective revolt against the Islamized Education and indoctrination in Iran.  Not only the education system, but the entire state seems to be facing an unprecedented existential crisis.