By Hamid Reza Emadi
Tehran, May 18, IRNA -- Fresh graduate in English translation, Zohreh
Khatibi works as a secretary in an advertising company. She is not
completely satisfied with the job, but considering the tough economic
situation in Iran and her low English knowledge, she knows having a
job, whatever it is, will really be vital.
Zohreh says the first and most important problem that she and her
former classmates had to deal with shortly after graduation was the
panic of how to find a job related to their fields. She referred to a
general lack of knowledge among the English language students and
graduates and that they are tight-handed when entering the market due
to their inability in translation.
"People think those who have studied English translation in the
university will obviously know the language perfectly. But the reality
is that most of English translation graduates are not able to
translate even simple texts. This, I can say for certain, is a
shortcoming of the educational system."
Since President Mohammad Khatami took office in May 1997, Iran has
visibly been opening up to the world in general and the West in
particular. The atmosphere has become much easier to put up with
during past three years.
Tourists from all over the world are flocking to Iran, foreign
firms are keen on investing in the country, many international
conferences on different cultural, social and economic issues are
being held here and moreover, Iran is the pioneer of the idea of
dialogue among civilizations.
In spite of all these, the significant role of the English
language as the lingua franca of today's world in establishing foreign
relations is simply neglected in Iran.
"We have no facilities, absolutely nothing," Behnam Saremi, a
senior English language translation student said. "I have been
studying for over three years without working at the language lab. It
seems we are constantly lagging behind the rapid changes taking place
in the English language."
Behnam believes one of the major obstacles in the way of promotion
of the course is the problem of using unqualified teaching staff in
"Some of the university professors seem to know nothing about the
course they are teaching. A graduate in international relations
teaches advanced translation in university or a graduate in
translation teaches linguistics. They are playing games with our
Meanwhile, professors themselves are not satisfied with the status
quo of the English translation course.
"The system of the English language teaching in Iran is totally
defective. It has not been revised for almost 25 years. It is not even
following a certain educational system. So with such problems how can
we expect knowledgeable graduates," university professor Ramin
Amoukhteh asked. He added that the future of the English language
teaching in Iran is very gloomy.
"Since the officials and so-called experts at the Ministry of
Science Research and Technology are still in hibernation, I'm not at
all optimistic about the future of the English teaching course at
Amoukhteh called on the related officials to set up a supervisory
committee to oversee teachers' performances.
"Besides changing the syllabus and teaching materials, we also
need a kind of supervision. With a strong supervising committee to
oversee professors' performance, we can prevent possible
Amoukhteh also criticized the way students are accepted to
"Some of the students, who pass the university entrance exams by
chance, do not even know the basics of the language. Some of them
know absolutely nothing. How can we teach these students. It is like
waking the dead."
The professor also urged the government to set up a special
committee for improving the horrible situation of the English language
education in Iran.