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Iran To Extend Gender Segregation To School Textbooks


Schoolgirls seated in a classroom in the city of Bam (file photo)
Iran’s Ministry of Education has announced it will soon publish separate school textbooks for boys and girls, creating another area of gender segregation in the Islamic republic.

Iran's minister of education, Hamid-Reza Hajibabai, made the announcement during a press conference in Tehran on January 16. He said the ministry plans to publish school textbooks that reflect the country's educational system, which requires boys and girls to study at different schools.

Iran’s Mehr news agency quoted Hajibabai as saying that in line with gender segregation in the education system, "education, training, and textbooks should be adjusted accordingly."

"In the next year, comprehensive education reforms will occur in all fields, including teachers, classes, books, and teaching methods," Hajibabai said, without revealing any specifics.

This latest development in gender segregation comes after the Education Ministry issued a directive in August that expanded gender separation of schoolchildren to preschools.

Gender segregation in schools was gradually introduced in Iran starting after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

In 2009, Hojatoleslam Nabiollah Fazlali, the representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, made a heated attack on the co-education system.

Fazlali criticized coed universities, saying that allowing male and female students in the same class is like "putting meat in front of a cat."

Gender segregation has long been a feature of Iranian society. Men and women are often kept separate in public places like schools and also sometimes at public weddings.

Written by Frud Bezhan
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