School pupils in Iran. © Reuters

Iranian leadership is planning on taking their country back to the stone age. In a recent development, Iran will ban the teaching of English in primary schools, thus stopping the western “cultural invasion.” They will also clamp down on private schools, preventing them from teaching English through regulation and supervision, according to the Head of the state-run High Council of Education, Mehdi Navid-Adham.

It seems that Iranian education leaders did not study history, when you try to ban an advancement, you end up reducing your capabilities as well as generate an underground supply of the missing resource. This happened in the US during prohibition and in the USSR when they banned Western Music and their western influenced ideas.

This latest change should be accepted with open arms by the West since it is the first step toward the end of the Ayatollah regime in Iran. It might take a few decades, but once the local populace is ignorant of English, and seeking to learn English and being punished for it, they will eventually revolt and replace the corrupt and stone age religion based regime with an enlightened, pluralistic one.

While the ban has been met with skepticism, it is not an absolute ban on learning languages. The Higher Education Council in 2012 asked why only English should be taught? They should add Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and French to the curriculum.
One reformist politician stated that many families prioritize English, so he doesn’t see how the new act will be doable. Learning a foreign language is compulsory in Iran. However, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei constantly criticizes the education system for not being more Islamic in their curriculum.

The order to stop teaching English will not be implemented immediately, and most teachers don’t think that it is feasible. One teacher from a town just south of Teheran stated that the new order shows how disassociated the education ministry is from society and the realities of life. Another teacher in Teheran stated that most private schools are competing for students by boasting how good their English teaching skills are, so this new policy will impact everyone at every level.

My take: The five most spoken languages are: Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. (In that order). There will come a day when knowledge of at least two of those five languages will be mandatory for survival. Being able to speak English is a boon. However, Chinese is becoming equally as important and rather than remove English; they should add Chinese, which would give the Iranian youth an added advantage when entering the world of commerce.

Another My Take: Religion has usually been detrimental to scientific advance, the history of Christianity is ripe with examples and until the 13th Century Islam was also a great believer in the Sciences, before it became tainted and turned away from scientific research. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries were made by Muslims between the 8th and 13th centuries. With Christianity, once the Martin Luther split from Catholicism, science started to take leaps and bounds. Before then, great scientists such as Galileo Galilei were ostracized from society by the Pope. In the UK, where the church was headed by the King (or Queen) freedom for scientific research gave birth to many successful scientists including Sir Isaac Newton. In regard to religions point of view, the only issue that is currently causing much debate is Darwin’s theory of evolution, and whether there is life on other planets. The Catholic Church’s point of view has changed greatly and now The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts: “Methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.