Focus Shifts on Quality as Schools Prepare to Reopen

Focus Shifts on Quality as Schools Prepare to Reopen Focus Shifts on Quality as Schools Prepare to Reopen

E ducation Minister Ali-Asghar Fani said 12.4 million students have registered in schools so far in the new academic year (starts Sept. 23).

The number excludes adult students in the non-formal education sector.

Speaking at a press conference, Fani said, “In the new school year, the number of students is expected to rise by 3% compared to the previous school year,” Khabaronline reported.

Additionally, 29 new books have replaced the existing fifth and ninth grade texts. Books for students in other grades have not been changed but minor corrections have been made.

“Provision of audio books for English and Farsi subjects is a new measure taken by the ministry to improve education quality,” he said.

On school renovation, Fani said almost 8,000 classrooms were renovated to accommodate 250,000 students. Further, 260 projects at a cost of $295 million have been taken up to increase the number of schools, he added.

He pointed out that 40,000 classrooms were equipped with safe central heating by replacing the risky oil heating appliances. “Safe heating in classrooms is our uppermost concern and measures have been taken to prevent school fires,” he said.

However, many schools are still not equipped with safe heating systems and school officials should be trained to deal with fire incidents.

 Foreign Students

“In the new school year, Iranian schools will host 48,000 foreign students, most of them Afghans,” Fani said.

The 126 Iranian schools in 76 foreign countries are also ready for the new academic year. Last year, 15,000 Iranian students were studying abroad.

Pointing to pre-school education, he said this year their management has been assigned to the ministry. Enhancing Persian language classes in bilingual provinces and improving  pre-school education in underprivileged areas are among priorities of the ministry.

Number of research centers for students had increased to 191 from 101 in the previous year.

This year, the ministry’s staff had been trimmed from one million to 700,000, to streamline the education system and improve quality of services. Unqualified teachers employed during the previous government’s tenure were removed. “In some regions, schools are overstaffed and in others there is a shortage of teachers. We have to achieve balance,” he added.