Source: Radio Farda
Speaking to a group of teachers and education specialists April 7, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vehemently denounced UNESCO's Education 2030 goals, which include gender equality in education.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Speaking against UNESCO's Education 2030 in July 2017
"The Islamic Republic will not surrender to documents like UNESCO's Education 2030, and its implementation is forbidden," Khamenei told the group of educators. "The basis, in this country, is Islam and the Quran. This is not a land where the defective, corrupt, and destructive Western lifestyle will be permitted to expand its influence."
Adopted in May 2015 at the World Education Forum, UNESCO's Education 2030 document lays out goals for the global education community, including an expansion of early childhood and adult education opportunities, an emphasis on civics and citizenship education, and access to education for girls and women.
The Supreme Leader rebuked the government of president Hassan Rouhani for signing, implementing, and promoting UNESCO's "Western influenced" educational agenda.
Conservative allies of the Supreme Leader also warn that implementing the UNESCO plan paves the way for foreigners to infiltrate the Iranian educational system, promoting and spreading a decadent Western lifestyle and liberal values.
In an open letter published last year, Sohrab Salahi the head of the Basiji Professors Organization, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), went even further, saying, "U.S. spies have deceived simpleton Iranian government officials through UNESCO's educational project into surrendering Iran's 'great cultural capacity to the Americans."
Calling the project "a joke," Salahi did not present any evidence indicating American spies are behind the UNESCO plan.
Immediately following a reprimand from Khamenei last year, President Hassan Rouhani's administration announced that UNESCO 2030 had been shelved indefinitely, and it is unclear why the document is again raisinghackles among conservatives now.
"We will confront whoever implements UNESCO's Education 2030 or educates students on any basis related to it," Education Minister Mohammad Bat'haei told the Islamic Republic's official news agency (IRNA) April 11.
Education in Iran is tightly controlled by the government at all levels, so it is highly unlikely the UNESCO program will make it into schools if it is condemned by the Supreme Leader. Bat'haei also warned independent NGOs focused on education to shun the UNESCO document or expect "unknown consequences."
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