Teaching mother language is not public demand in Iran, official says

Photo: Teaching mother language is not public demand in Iran, official says / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Teaching mother language is not a public demand among Iranian ethnics, Iranian president's special aide for the affairs of ethnic groups and religious minorities, Ali Younesi said, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on Feb. 24.

"It is a limited intellectual and local demand," he said, adding that if teaching mother languages is free in Iran, it will be welcomed by few people.

Commenting on the administration's program about teaching the mother languages in the schools, Younesi said that the Education and Science ministries should pursue the issue.

He went on to say that, ethnics` languages are being taught by listening and watching radio and television, but if teaching the languages in schools is necessary, there will not be any problem.

Younesi argued that the ethnics' main issue is not teaching mother language.

"Some political groups pursue the issue as a national issue," he said, adding that "if we give the opportunity of teaching mother languages for ethnics, they will not have any excuse."

Younesi underlined that while the Arabic and English languages are being taught in the schools without any problem, teaching other languages will not lead to problems in the country.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani published a statement in June 2013, during his presidential campaign regarding teaching the ethnic mother languages of Iranians (Kurdish, Azerbaijani, Arabic, etc.), officially emphasizing his intention to fully implement Article 15.

On Jan. 20, Iranian media outlets quoted Younesi saying Iran is preparing to launch special educational courses for different ethnic groups in the country which was followed by negative reactions among some entities and extremist politician in Iran. Younesi said that the government held several meetings with the country's Ministry of Education, and the issue is currently being assessed.

In a meeting with Iranian education minister, Ali Asghar Fani on Jan. 28, members of the Persian Language and Literature Academy expressed concern about possible teaching regional (ethnic) languages by the administration, saying that it is a serious threat against the Persian language.

Earlier in October, 2013, Iranian Jamaran news portal quoted country's Education Minister, Ali Asghar Fani as saying that teaching ethnic languages at Iranian schools is a priority of the Ministry. He went on to note that it is time to carry out Article 15 of Iran's constitution.

Article 15 of Iran's constitution states that the "Official language (of Iran)... is Persian...[and]... the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching their literature at schools, is allowed in addition to Persian.

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