Several Iranian teachers have gathered in protest in front of the Ministry of Education in Tehran and several other cities.
In Tehran, dozens of contractual teachers gathered in front of the Ministry of Education for the second day on Monday 5th of Aug, demanding permanent contracts.
The spokesperson of the protesters told Tasnim news that the Iranian parliament has ordered the Ministry to make efforts to hire teachers with temporary contacts with permanent ones. However, the ministry wants to hire only 13 thousand teachers.
The rallies and protest have been ongoing for the past three months and came after teachers were told their temporary hourly based contracts would become fixed sessional contracts.
Iranian Board of Education hires teacher based on their credentials of having completed a Teacher’s College degree. Teachers are hired on three levels: 1 – temporary hourly based contract in which the teacher will only get paid for the hours spent in or on the classroom (Haghol Tadrisi Teacher); 2 – teacher is hired with a fixed sessional contract in which the teacher is hired without having the required credentials and has fixed yearly contract; 3 – tenure teacher in which a teacher is hired on full credentials with permanent contract with benefits. What teachers prefer are tenure contracts.
The Iranian Ministry of Education has announced that it will increase the employment of teachers from the private sector in the form of sessional contracts in the coming school year to compensate for the shortage of teachers and educators
There are more than 30 thousands of contractual teachers in Iran. Contractual teachers do not have job security, retirement, insurance and other benefits.
The teachers chanted, “where does the budget go?,” “we don’t want empty promises, we want the law to be enforced!”
According to Mehr news in some provinces including Fars a new guideline requires the schools to use retired teachers in the upcoming school year 2019-2020. The contractual teachers also protest this new guideline and ask “why the priority is to hire back retired teachers.”
Fars news wrote these teachers have been working with very low wages for several years and their salaries are being paid with delays.
There were several other protests and gatherings of the teachers in other Iranian cities in recent days. sessional teachers, retired teachers, and contractual teachers in Ahwaz, Kermanshah and Isfahan gathered on Sunday and Monday. They demanded the release of the arrested teachers as well.
Several teachers and union activists are in prison in Iran. Most of them arrested after protesting against government policies.
The teacher’s long-sought demands include wage increase and improvement of living conditions for both employees and pensioners, proper health insurance coverage, an end to privatization and commodification of education, providing free and high-quality education for all children, freedom of association and the right to form and join independent unions.
Ismail Abdi, Mohammad Habibi, Mahmoud Beheshti-Langroudi are among the teachers’ union activists who are in prison.
Teacher’s struggles in Iran have a long history and it dates back to before the 1979 Iranian revolution however in each period they have had different demands. In recent decades and especially because of mismanagement, corruption, and sanctions their demands have shifted from educational reforms to financial demands.