State High Schools Sans Humanities Major

State High Schools Sans Humanities Major State High Schools Sans Humanities Major

Starting from the next academic year (September 2016), state-run high schools will not offer the humanities as a major for second-graders, announced Esfandiar Chaharband, director general of the Tehran Education Department.

“Selecting a high school major takes place in the first grade, therefore as of next year, students must keep this in mind and choose their schools accordingly,” the Education Ministry official said, ISNA reported.

Chaharband noted that those interested in pursuing humanities at the university level must enroll in a chain of high schools called “Farhang” (meaning culture), set up across the country and specializing in the humanities.

“There are currently 12 Farhang schools in Tehran, and 24 more will be added before the next academic year starts,” he added. Each municipal district must have one such school.

The Education Reform Plan focuses on promoting the quality of education in the diverse fields of humanities and not just on quantity, he said.

High school education underwent comprehensive reform in the early 1990s in Iran. Literally called the “New System,” it aimed to achieve two main goals: reducing the high school dropout rate by pruning high school education by one year (from 4 to 3 years); and increasing vocational enrollment by redesigning vocational modules and improving the job prospects of its graduates. The reform was implemented gradually over a period of 4 years (1992-1996) and across all provinces.


Currently, high school students have to choose a major between humanities, mathematics, or biology in regular schools if they want to pursue higher education in a university, or they can choose to enroll in either an art school, a vocational and technical training school, or a ‘Kar-o-Danesh’(work and knowledge) school based on their personal interest and career choices.

Once they pick the school of their choice, they have to take the pertinent courses all through high school as opposed to the old system, where there were two main majors: ‘theory’ and ‘vocational and technical training’.

Chaharband pointed to the 300,000 empty seats at universities that offer disciplines in humanities, and said the problem is rooted in flawed educational guidance at the high school level.

“As of next year, guidance will be provided based on the national need for trainees in each major, and not merely on students’ interests,” he stressed.

For now, all high school students need to complete the 12th grade before they are able to take the university entrance exam.