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Iran - Preprimary & Primary Education

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceIran - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education


Preprimary education is a one-year period in which five-year-old children are prepared for primary school. The main goals of preprimary education are:

  • To contribute to the physical, mental, emotional, and social growth in young children based on religious and ethical principles
  • To develop the abilities and talents of students in order to prepare them for future studies
  • To promote the Persian language, particularly in the provinces, which have different native languages
  • To prepare children for social relationships and cooperation
  • To help families with low incomes by creating a safe educational atmosphere to train their young children

The curriculum at this level is standardized through use of two teaching manuals titled Content and Methods of Instruction in Pre-Primary Centers, Volumes I and II. These demonstrate appropriate behavioral and pedagogical techniques as well as a general curriculum focusing on basic life skills, natural sciences, hygiene, literacy, history, and religious history and practice.

Primary education in Iran is split into two types: elementary and lower secondary, or guidance, schools. The elementary level is a four-year program and includes religious training and the study of the Qur'an, Persian composition, dictation, Persian reading comprehension, social studies, arts, hygiene and natural science, mathematics, and physical education. Special emphasis at this level is given to reading comprehension. In grade one, half of the 24 allotted teaching hours are set aside for this discipline. The main objectives of primary education are:

  • Creation of a favorable atmosphere for the purification and moral superiority of students
  • Development of student's physical strength
  • Enabling the students to read, write, and upgrade their calculating skills, and providing necessary training on proper social behavior
  • Instruction for individual hygiene and providing necessary advice on how to behave at home as well as in society

All subject musts be passed in order for students to pass on to the guidance cycle. Textbooks are standardized and must be prepared and approved by the Ministry of Education. The dropout rate at the primary level from 1993 to 1994 was 1.9 percent. The repetition rates for the same year varied depending on grade level but were highest in grades one (9.5 percent) and five (8.7 percent). In the 1994-95 academic year, the transition rate from the primary to lower secondary level was 94.2 percent.

The lower secondary, or guidance, cycle (doreh-e rahnamaii) is a three-year program in which the emphasis on instruction changes from teaching general knowledge to an effort at helping a student discover an area of specialization. The goals of the guidance cycle include:

  • Developing a student's moral and intellectual abilities
  • Increasing the student's experiences and general knowledge
  • Helping students to continue the habits of discipline and scientific imagination that have been taught in elementary school
  • Diagnosing individual preferences and talents in students so that they may be directed towards suitable studies and professions

At this level the subjects of history, geography, Arabic, vocational training, foreign languages, and defense preparation are added to the curriculum. Mathematics and natural sciences are given a larger portion of the 28 allotted teaching hours—four to five hours—although Persian language and literature remains the focus of instruction. In the area of religious training, religious minority groups are given their own special subjects. Students who successfully pass a regional examination conducted at the end of the cycle receive a Certificate of General Education/General Certificate of Guidance Education. No statistics on dropout rates were available for this level. In the 1993-94 school year, grade repetition levels ranged from 10 to 13 percent depending on year. For the 1994-95 school year, the transition rate from lower secondary or guidance school to upper secondary level was 98 percent.

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