Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 26, 2021—As Iran marked the beginning of the new academic year on Saturday, active and retired teachers and education workers held rallies across the country, protesting the regime’s destructive policies. The demonstrations were held in front of education ministry and government offices in Tehran, Kermanshah, Shiraz, Marivan, Saqqez, Bojnurd, Isfahan, Mahshahr, Sari, Kuhdasht, Ilam, Andimeshk, Ashknan (Fars province), Zanjan, Masiri (Fars province), Yazd, Torbat Heidarieh, Shirvan (North Khorasan), Behbehan, Sanandaj, Khorramshahr, and other cities.
The protesters were chanting:
– Officials are giving false promises
– Teachers will die but won’t accept disgrace
– Retired teachers reflect the situation of employed ones
– Education workers are awake and fed up with lies
– Imprisoned teachers must be freed
The teachers have been protesting since last year, but the regime has refrained from addressing their demands. As the start of the academic year neared, the teachers returned to the streets to resume their protests and remind the government of its duties.
This latest round of protests comes on the heels of ongoing protests that began on September 3 and have been ongoing nearly every day. Some of the teachers spend the night in front of the education ministry and resume their demonstrations during the day.
Last Saturday, teachers held simultaneous protests in several cities, including Ilam, Ahvaz, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Dehdasht. Saturday’s protest rallies also included retired teachers, who are facing severe economic problems as the regime refuses to adjust pensions with the growing inflation rate and the depreciating national currency.
The protesting teachers are demanding regime authorities implement what is known as the “80 percent ranking plan” regarding the teachers’ salaries.
“The government and parliament are obliged to approve this initiative. If this initiative is approved and implemented, the legal basis for teachers’ wage will be at least 80 percent of that of faculty members, because teachers and members of faculty boards should be receiving equal salaries,” the Iranian Teachers Coordination Council said in its statement marking the beginning of the new school year.
The Iranian regime is literally stealing from the country’s teachers by maintaining their salaries at a low level. The poverty line in Iran is 120 million rials (about $437 per month). Yet many teachers receive a fraction of this sum.
The teachers’ minimum wage in Iran is 35 million rials, which means that they are paid about 1,300 euros a year. In Ireland, the minimum annual salary of a teacher is 30,000 euros, more than 23 times their Iranian colleagues. All the while, Irish teachers are among the lowest paid in Europe.
In Luxembourg, a teacher earns at least 95,000 euros. That means more than 73 times the salary of a teacher in Iran! To add insult to injury, Iranian teachers receive their salary with a delay. Some informal teachers are only receiving half their salaries. The authorities’ answer to the teachers’ protests is negligence and then oppression.
Many teachers have committed suicide in recent years due to poverty and not being able to provide for their basic needs.
Also protesting are “green report card teachers,” consisting of those teachers who have passed the Education Ministry’s employment test but have yet to be employed by the government. Some of the teachers had traveled to the capital from other cities to make their voices heard.
The continued protests by the teachers has become a cause of concern for the regime. On September 12, security forces attacked the protesters and targeted them with teargas.
The teachers held another round of protests in June, demanding the education ministry to provide them with employment opportunities.
Regime authorities have tried to downplay the protests and the demands of the teachers, claiming that some of the protesters have “failed their exams.”
Despite the shortage of teachers across Iran, the education ministry refrains from employing the teachers.