TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will not allow its universities to begin teaching certain disciplines it deems too “Western,” and existing courses will be revised, a senior Education Ministry was quoted as saying Sunday.
“Expansion of 12 disciplines in the social sciences like law, women’s studies, human rights, management, sociology, philosophy....psychology and political sciences will be reviewed,” Abolfazl Hassani was quoted as saying in the Arman newspaper.
“These sciences’ contents are based on Western culture. The review will be the intention of making them compatible with Islamic teachings.”
Hassani said Iranian universities will not be allowed to open new departments in these disciplines and the curricula for existing departments would be revised.
Iran’s hard-line rulers accuse the West of trying to harm the Islamic state by influencing the country’s young generation with “decadent” culture.
Pointing to the enrolment of some 2 million out of a total of 3.5 million university students in the humanities, in August Iran’s most powerful figure Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for modification of these studies.
“Many disciplines in the humanities are based on principles founded on materialism disbelieving the divine Islamic teachings,” Khamenei said in a speech reported by state media.
“Thus such teachings...will lead to the dissemination of doubt in the foundations of religious teachings.”
Access to the Internet and illegal satellite television mean Western popular culture is king among young Iranians, a vital constituency in a country where 70 percent of the population is under 30 and has no real memory of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Michael Roddy