Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary school classrooms.
The announcement follows claims by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that early learning of the language paves the way for “cultural invasion” of Western values. The government’s decision comes shortly after a week of mass protests against the country’s leadership which spread to more than 80 cities and small towns and left at least 21 dead.
“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the High Education Council, told state TV on Saturday.
Adham added that primary education is crucial in instilling the Iranian culture and values in its students.
Khamenei has often criticized creeping Western influence in the Islamic Republic, and expressed deep concern in 2016 over the spread of English to “nursery schools,” The Guardian reported.
“That does not mean opposition to learning a foreign language, but [this is the] promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths,” he said at the time.
English will still be taught in middle schools and high schools.