In an effort to insulate Iran from what is perceived as an invasion of Western cultural ideas and principles, Islamic leaders in the country have outlawed English courses from the curriculum of elementary schools.
“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” said state-run high education council leader Mehdi Navid-Adham. “The assumption is that in primary education the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid.”
The prohibition of English courses comes as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claims that the last of the recent deadly anti-government protests that have caused unrest in the country have been “put down.”
Blame for the protests was variously attributed to foreign influences, particularly that of Saudi Arabia and the Untied States.
According to Breitbart News, most Iranian students begin receiving English instruction in middle school, making it unclear whether prohibiting English courses in primary schools would have an impact on the country.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has previously criticized the teaching of English to younger students. Even so, English continues to be used by Iranians to connect to the international community in business, academia and other sectors.
The Iranian government made no reference to the recent protests when making the announcement of the ban on English courses.
On Sunday, a video of the announcement of the ban was widely circulated on social media. Iranians accused the government of “the filtering of English,” and compared the measure to the government’s blocking of the popular app Telegram during the civil unrest.
Telegram reportedly has 42 million users in Iran and anti-government protesters appear to have been quelled by the disruption of the app.