Afghan children are still being denied entry into Iranian schools, says Afghan Ministry representative in Iran, despite the recent directive from the president’s office that removed all enrollment restrictions for foreign school-age children without status.
The daily newspaper Etemad reports that while the directive was issued seven months ago, 140,000 Afghan children, who live in Iran without official status are still being denied enrollment.
Shamsulrahman Foroutan, Afghan Ministry representative, said none of the Afghan children who were to benefit from the directive have been able to get into Iranian classrooms. As school registration approaches, he said, these children are still being denied their right to an education.
Foroutan said some schools declare that Afghan children will only be accepted after Iranian children have been registered. He went on to say that high schools are rejecting Afghan students outright, even though the directive refers to all school levels.
The two-year directive, which was issued last December, charges the Ministry of Education with allowing Afghan and Iraqi children who are living in Iran under any status to register with public schools and continue their education.
Foroutan maintained that schools have not been informed of the directive, and even those Afghan students who have legal status face enrollment restrictions.
The Iranian Ministry of Education announced that the directive does not apply to the past year and only comes into effect for the coming academic year. The ministry claims it has received no complaints on the issue, which it takes as proof that the registration of Afghan children has been happening as directed.
The ministry, however, insists that the directive does not include high school education, and says Afghan students will also be restricted from joining model public schools, conservatories and enriched programs. The ministry adds that Afghan students are required to pay tuition fees.
The ministry also announced restrictions for foreign nationals residing in Iran who wish to participate in national and international sports and science competitions.
Etemad writes that over the past nine years, the Afghan government has repeatedly spoken out against Iran’s refusal to allow Afghan children residing in Iran to enroll in schools.