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Iran Bans English in Primary Schools

Iran Bans English in Primary Schools

Sunday, 7 January, 2018 - 17:45
Juan Salinas, an English teacher in training leads a class at George Washington Carver Middle School in Los Angeles, California. Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after religious leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a Western "cultural invasion".

"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, told state television late on Saturday.

"This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid," Navid-Adham said, adding that non-curriculum English classes may also be blocked.

The teaching of English usually starts in middle school in Iran, around the ages of 12 to 14, but some primary schools, below that age, also have English classes.

Iran's religious leaders have often warned about the dangers of a "cultural invasion", and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei voiced outrage in 2016 over the "teaching of the English language spreading to nursery schools".

While there was no mention of the announcement being linked to more than a week of protests against the government, Iran's Revolutionary Guards have said that that unrest was also fomented by foreign enemies.

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