By Pooya Stone
An Iranian government official has admitted that many workers can’t afford to keep their children in education.
The most substantial problem right now is that workers cannot afford things like mobile phones or laptops, which would allow their children to access online learning made essential because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s far from the only barrier between Iranian children and education.
Hamidreza Imam Gholi Tabar, Inspector of the Supreme Assembly of Workers’ Representatives, told the state-run Tasnim news agency on Friday: “In recent years, the people, especially the workers, have been affected by the most severe economic pressures such as rampant inflation, declining incomes, and declining purchasing power, increasing poverty, and recently, coronavirus, an uninvited guest has been added to this list. These problems have overshadowed the management and normal life of the workers and have led them to a dead-end in covering their daily expenses.”
Indeed, the cost of tuition fees, registration fees, uniforms, accessories, and stationery, all adds up, even in normal times, and the people can barely afford to pay for food and bills, let alone schooling when 80% of the population live below the poverty line.
Imam Gholi Tabar said: “If no practical solution is found to solve the above challenge, workers will certainly prevent their children from continuing their education due to lack of sufficient income. Because in the shadow of discrimination and the lack of any support for the working class and the vulnerable sectors of the society, survival will be their first priority and the education of their children will be at a much lower priority.”
This will no doubt lead to a whole generation of children forced to work as working children and lacking the needed education for many careers, thus limiting whatever social progression there may have been so far.
On Wednesday, parliament discussed the people’s living conditions, with Hossein Khosravi asking “Do not you hear the cries of different classes of workers and employees, such as preschool teachers, contract teachers, the disabled, the workers of telecommunication company, and the children of the martyrs, many of people who are drowning in problems, outside the parliament?”
On Tuesday in Parliament, MP Shiva Ghassemipour said: “The way things are going, in the next few months, the bread will disappear from the people’s tables, as has happened with meat and eggs… Our officials don’t do anything to help the impoverished segments of society, whose numbers are increasing every day. When did we promise to create havens for the rich, give shelter to the corrupt, and deprive the poor of the power to buy eggs?”