Iran curtails social sciences taught in universities

IRAN has imposed new restrictions on 12 university social sciences deemed to be based on Western schools of thought and therefore incompatible with Islamic teachings, state radio reported.

The list includes law, philosophy, management, psychology, political science and the two subjects that appear to cause the most concern among Iran’s conservative leadership – women’s studies and human rights.

“The content of the current courses in the 12 subjects is not in harmony with religious fundamentals and they are based on Western schools of thought,” senior education official Abolfazl Hassani told state radio.

Hassani said the restrictions prevent universities from opening new departments in these subjects.

The government will also revise the content of current programmes by up to 70% over the next few years, he said.

The decision is seen as a response to concerns expressed last year by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said the subjects could lead to religious doubts. Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, urged officials to take altering the curriculum into “serious consideration”.

Some two million out of 3.5 million Iranian university students are studying social sciences and humanities, according to government statistics.

University students have played a key role in opposition protests in Iran, especially after the country’s disputed presidential election last year, which opposition activists say hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won through massive fraud.

Since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, he has pushed a revival of the fundamentalist goals pursued in the 1980s under the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, father of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

In 2006, dozens of liberal university professors and teachers were sent into retirement, drawing strong protests from students. Liberal and secular professors teach at universities around the country, but they are a minority. Most are politically passive and do not identify with either the hard-liners or the liberal camp.


Lifestyle

Dr Sarah Miller is the CEO of Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, the national centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. She has a degree in Biotechnology and a PHD in Environmental Science in Waste Conversion Technologies.‘We have to give people positive messages’

When I was pregnant with Joan, I knew she was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby, but I just knew. Or else, I so badly wanted a girl, I convinced myself that is exactly what we were having.Mum's the Word: I have a confession: I never wanted sons. I wanted daughters

What is it about the teenage years that are so problematic for families? Why does the teenage soul rage against the machine of the adult world?Learning Points: It’s not about the phone, it’s about you and your teen

Judy Collins is 80, and still touring. As she gets ready to return to Ireland, she tells Ellie O’Byrne about the songs that have mattered most in her incredible 60-year career.The songs that matter most to Judy Collins from her 60-year career

More From The Irish Examiner