Moving Forward to the Past: The State and the Ideology of Education in Iran
This paper aims to provide a historical overview of education as a state ideology in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Drawing from different fields of study, my arguments in this paper are grounded on the assumption that education is not a neutral activity and does not take place in isolation from social and political histories of a particular community or nation. The focal point of the paper is that all educational activities are indeed political actions which intend to support and promote particular beliefs and values. Similarly, I contend that politics and state ideology are interlocking factors in the process of reproducing an ideology of education that promotes an ethnoreligious national identity. This paper is divided into three sections. In the first section, I present an overview of the Iranian educational system. I pay special attention to the religious and secular models of education throughout different stages of Iranian history and social development throughout history. In the second section, I discuss the philosophy of educational thought in Iran and examine the influence of social developments in the Iranian educational system throughout the country’s ancient and modern eras. In the last section, I examine the situation of women’s education in the Iranian educational system and how the traditional perceptions of gender roles and status of women in the contemporary Iranian society is promoted and reinforced in cultural practices and educational policy.
Keywords: Philosophy of Education, Comparative International Eduction, Educational Policy
Dr. Shiva Sadeghi
Postdoctoral Fellow and Faculty Associate, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, OISE and University of Toronto