Iran just banned the teaching of English in primary school because, it said, those early years should be devoted to strengthening students’ skills in the Persian language and Iranian Islamic culture.
Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television, “Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” the BBC reported. Iran’s education system is divided into the primary and secondary grades, with children moving from the former to the latter at age 12. There are both public and private schools.
Navid-Adham did not mention the deadly anti-government protests that have erupted in Iran, which authorities have linked to foreign powers, including the United States and Iraq. Iranian authorities blocked social media apps Instagram and Telegram — “temporarily” — after demonstrators used them to share videos of protests.
According to the BBC, English is widely studied in Iran and is so popular in higher grades that classes started to be offered in primary schools. This has happened despite concerns expressed by Iran’s rulers, who have said that the teaching of English and other foreign languages amounts to a “cultural invasion.” In a speech to teachers in 2016, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, bemoaned the prevalence of English classes in Iranian schools, saying:
据BBC报道，尽管伊朗的统治者们担忧英语和其他外语教学增加“文化入侵”，伊朗仍有很多人学习英语，英语在高年级十分受欢迎，以至于各小学开始开设英语课程。伊朗的最高领袖Ayatollah Ali Khamenei于2016年在给老师们的谈话中对伊朗各校英语的强势地位表达了惋惜，他说：
This insistence on promoting the English language in our country is an unhealthy course of action. Of course, we should learn foreign languages, but foreign languages are not confined to the English language. The language of science is not only English. Why do they not specify other languages in school as language lessons? Why is there such an insistence? . . .