IRAN: Experts alarmed at growing rate of high school dropouts
After making startling advances in expanding public education and increasing literacy over the last three decades, Iran appears to be facing a major setback in education.
The number of students dropping out of school is more than 25%, says the secretary of the Assn. of Iranian Social Workers, according to news website Aftabnews.
The official, Mostafa Eghlimi, added that the figure is especially worrisome because kids who drop out of school are at greater risk of getting involved in crime or drugs, already an epidemic in Iran.
Eghlimi blamed the educational establishment for the high dropout rates.
He cited outdated textbooks, overworked teaching staff, lack of specialized care for different students and kids' personal problems outside the classroom as the reasons for the dropout problem.
Officials are saying that females are faring better than males: The number of illiterate girls is decreasing, while more and more boys aren't learning to read, according to Mohammad Mehdizadeh, an official for the nation's anti-literacy campaign cited by the semi-official Mehr news agency.
In fact, he said, for the first time in the history of Iran, the number of illiterate men is higher than that of women in Iran.
-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran
Photo: Iranian students hold an anti-American placard during an annual state-backed rally in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, marking the anniversary of takeover of the embassy in 1979 by militant students. Credit: Vahid Salemi / Associated Press