A word of gratitude to the Iranian nation for their good conduct during the Ashura period
I would like to use this opportunity to thank the dear Iranian nation for their good conduct during the ten-day Ashura period. As some gentlemen at the meeting pointed out, the event that took place eternalized this year as a phenomenon in the history of the country. On the one hand, there were restrictions stemming from the spread of the Corona pandemic and the people took care not to further spread it and on the other hand, there was Husseini enthusiasm among the public and the mourning occasions were upheld. Great ceremonies were held and the people launched a magnificent spiritual movement. I also wish to thank the honorable speakers and the dear and esteemed panegyrists and eulogists. I sincerely thank all of them. Of course, I am not an important person to thank these people, but I express my gratitude merely as a lover of Ahlul Bayt (greetings be upon them) and a follower of Ashura.
A word of gratitude to the large educational system of the country
I also deem it necessary, in the beginning of my statements, to give a “God bless you” to you dear friends, honorable participants and officials in the large educational system of the country for the plans that you implemented in the space of several months. You endeavored diligently and worked really hard. The endeavors made by the educational system in recent months should not be ignored as it effectively managed the affairs in schools, in classrooms, in cyberspace and in the organization of elections and other such plans. After that, it did planning for the next educational year that begins from the 15th of Shahrivar. Great feats were accomplished, which were unprecedented in the educational system. Previously, there was no experience in these areas, but you worked on them. I hope that God will bestow success on you.
I thank the honorable minister for the statements that he made. He delivered a good report and the points that he raised and the tasks that they have carried out are satisfactory and I hope that these tasks will continue. I too wish to raise certain points. The measures that you enumerated are noteworthy and important and no matter how hard you work for the educational system, there is room for more work: the kind of work that is well-organized, well-calculated with good counsel and by considering all the aspects of the issue. No matter how much you work for this fundamental need of the country, there is room for more work. I wish to add something to my word of gratitude. I normally do not mention this, but I deem it necessary this time to mention it: the text that he read was an eloquent and good text. When we read, write and recite something, it is very important to observe good Farsi and use correct words and eloquent and beautiful structures and phrases. The text that he read had these characteristics. So, I thank him from this perspective as well.
Dear brothers, dear sisters, we have spoken at length about the educational system. I have raised many points and others have also done the same. You have spoken about it too. Many of the points and the words of advice that we offered in the past can be offered today as well because the task at hand has not reached its end in many cases. Of course, effort has thankfully been made, but work should continue so that it will reach the results that we want. Today, I wish to discuss a few points about the educational system:
The cultivation of humans, the main logic behind the establishment of the educational system
A fundamental point is to ask and to answer this main question: what is the logic behind the educational system, this great organization? This question holds true not only in our country, but also in countries all over the world. When they create such a large system and such a cultural army comprised of students, teachers and various employees and managers, what is the reason behind doing so? We know the brief answer to this question: the reason is to build humans. In other words, a raw material – a six, seven-year-old child – enters this factory, is shaped and molded for 12 years there and finally, certain outputs and products should come out of the factory. What are the products? Decent humans. However, different schools, philosophies, countries and societies have different definitions for “decent humans”. Not everyone defines “decent humans” in the same way. And that is why education is not same in various societies. In the Islamic Republic, we pursue the same goal. We want to cultivate humans in this twelve-year system. And the main characteristic of these 12 years is that it is the best time to learn. To put it otherwise, learning at these ages is easier, better and more efficient with longer effects. So, it is important from this aspect as well.
The qualities of the outputs produced by the educational system
We want the outputs yielded by this great system and great machine to be outputs compatible with Islamic thought. Now, the question is: what are the characteristics of the individuals that Islamic society, the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic system want to have? Many things have been said in this regard as well: everyone has talked about it. I have spoken about it and others have done it too. However, if we want to briefly introduce the individuals that Islam expects the educational system to build with Islamic criteria, we should describe such individuals like this: first, they should be religious. Faith is the first condition. Second, they should be wise. In other words, they should be able to use their minds and their thinking: “Perhaps, you may think” [The Holy Quran, 2: 73]. Notice how many times this has been repeated in the Holy Quran. They should be intellectual – they should think. The function of the intellectual faculty is not only to let us find practical ways in life, rather its main function is to help us think and to deliberate. This is more important than becoming a scientist. If we want to have good scientists, we should have good thinkers. Becoming a scientist and acquiring knowledge comes after thinking. This is another characteristic.
They should be mujahid and men of action. Sitting, talking and merely thinking and chatting are not enough. They should be ready to take action. Of course, there are many discussions in this regard. By action, we mean diligent and persistent action. This is the kind of action that is referred to as “jihad” in holy Islamic sharia. Such jihad is jihad in the way of God. Jihad is encouraged by sharia. They should be fair-minded, disciplined and committed to Islamic ethics. These are the human qualities that we expect you to cultivate in children in the process of education and edification.
The content of the policies adopted by the educational system
Well, now that we have such an expectation – of course, there are degrees: there are competent and poor outputs and I do not want to say that the ideal is expected everywhere because after all, individuals have different talents and conditions – if we want such individuals to come out of the factory, what characteristics should the factory enjoy? What sciences should we teach? How should we teach students to think? How should we teach them to be committed to Islamic ethics? In other words, the method is important. With what methods should we teach various sciences? It is about education and edification. What methods should we utilize for teaching? What methods are required for edification and moral lessons? To what extent should we use every method? At what level and which teachers? It is necessary to do planning for all these. These issues should be determined in the educational system. Therefore, these are executive policies in the educational system.
The necessity for transformation in the educational system
Of course, in the distant past – since the day the European system of education entered the country – they did not think about these matters at all. Our educational system was a copy of European systems and it was merely adopted in our country, but no one thought about what kind of individuals we needed and what kinds of individuals should be built considering the country’s circumstances and environment – as is stated these days: considering our country’s environment. We did not think about these matters. They copied and implemented what was being used in European countries. Of course, certain superficial changes have been made to it with the passage of time – both before and after the Revolution. After the Revolution too, there was no fundamental change and transformation for a long time. There were some changes, but they only touched peripheral matters. That is why we brought up the issue of bringing about a fundamental transformation in the educational system of the country. With it, I wanted to bring up the idea that our educational system needs a firm intellectual infrastructure. It needs to clarify and to realize the characteristics that were just mentioned. Later on, I will tell you how transformation should be implemented and what qualities it should enjoy. Of course, many tasks have been carried out in this regard in recent years.
Specifying the main goals, strategies, policies and plans
Therefore, the discussion about transformation and knowing its infrastructures will clarify for us what outputs this great cultural network and this large army – the educational system which almost has 14 million students, about one million teachers, employees, managers and the like – should have and how it should achieve this purpose. The issue of transformation that we are speaking about should explain to us what the products should be and how they should be achieved. It shows us what expertise, skills and moral and behavioral characteristics should exist in these 12 years’ outputs and products.
So, in the transformation plan, goals are naturally our primary concern. We should identify the goals – the major goals – all of which should of course be based on Islam, on revelation, on firm beliefs and Quranic principles and on the real needs of Iranian society with the characteristics that it has. The goals should be based on these. When goals are determined, then instructions and strategies are defined on the basis of the goals. These points have been considered in your transformation plan. They have done this. Of course, when it becomes clear what the strategies and instructions are, they should be easy to understand and they should use clear-cut explanations. Making it wordy and the like is of no use. It should be clear what we want to do and what the main instructions and strategies are. On the basis of the strategies, we should specify smaller goals on the ground so that we know how we should proceed in every section and what the goals are.
When it becomes clear what these operational goals and, in fact, policies are, it will be time to identify clear executive plans for reaching those goals. Well, these plans have not been presented completely yet. All the administrations that have come and go and all the different managers in the educational system have carried out certain tasks and have presented some plans as operational plans, but they have only paid attention to certain parts of the transformation plan, not all of it. When we look at the transformation plan, we see that the entire transformation plan should be completely implemented. In other words, there should be clear lines and paths, just like the irrigation networks that transfer the water collected behind dams to farming lands. Your operational plans should be like this. They should be able to transfer the general policies, concepts and demands to the necessary areas in a transparent and operational manner and its planning should cover various areas – whether educational and scientific areas or moral and ethical areas. What is important is that such planning should be done and this falls on high-ranking managers in the educational system and on the Supreme Council of Education and Edification.
The necessity to update the transformation plan for the educational system
Of course, the document of the plan has been prepared. It has been 9 years now that the plan has been announced and it has been discussed in various meetings in the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution – I think that about 14, 15 meetings have been held on this matter. However, it has been mentioned in the document itself that the plan should be updated and modified every five years. In my opinion too, it is necessary to modify it. We should complete it. Of course, in order to modify the document, we should not put aside planning as the process of modification might take a long time in the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. This should not be the case. Planning and modification – that is to say, updating and correcting the transformation plan - should be done at the same time. There are some ambiguous and vague phrases in the text of the goals and the strategies which, as I said before, should be clarified and simplified. It should be clear what we want. These tasks should be carried out.
Therefore, there are two important tasks: one is to update and modify the text of the plan which falls on the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution – it is they who should modify the plan: it should be done there and you can follow up the matter – and another is to formulate a comprehensive executive plan which falls on the educational system. This is your responsibility and you should prepare a comprehensive plan. Of course, you have prepared parts of it and you have implemented many sections. According to the report that you delivered and according to what I have heard, many aspects of the plan have been implemented. I was aware of some of the tasks that have been carried out, but you should have a comprehensive plan in your hands showing what you want to do.
The necessity to set a time table and to insert a progress index in the comprehensive executive plan
Therefore, this comprehensive plan should contain all operational goals. It should be thorough and have a time table. In other words, two important points should be observed in the comprehensive plan: the first is the existence of a time table and the second is the existence of a progress index. There should be a specific time table and there should also be certain indexes showing how much the plan has moved forward and more importantly, we should be able to say how accurate the plan is. This is because in the arena of action, when you look at the results and when you understand that you have progressed, you understand that the document is a correct and solid one. Otherwise, if the harder we work, the less results we achieve, we understand that there is a problem in the essence. Should this be the case, we will go back and we will correct and remove the flaws. So, both setting a time table and specifying certain indexes are necessary in the preparation of the executive plan. These are the two tasks that should be accomplished. Of course, they should be pursued: this is a duty that falls on you, on the Supreme Council of the Educational System, on the honorable Minister of Education and on the bureaucratic organization of the educational system. They should follow up the matter so that it will yield results.
Explaining the transformation plan to managers, personnel and teachers
There is another point about the transformation plan: its clarification. It was pointed out in Mr. Minister’s report that this clarification is being done, but according to the reports that I have received – I myself am not present at the educational system, but I receive some reports – in many places, they are not at all aware of the transformation plan. We speak about the transformation plan – I myself have placed great emphasis on the transformation plan for many years – but the managers in such and such organizations and divisions do not know what the plan is in the first place. Well, this cannot be done. When they do not know what it is and when they are not familiar with it, they are not motivated to implement it. The plan should be clarified to them – not only to managers, but also to the personnel, and even to teachers. Teachers should know what the transformation plan is. And you should prepare the plan in a way that it will be attractive to all of them so that they look at and understand it. My main discussion is about the transformation plan and the characteristics that it should enjoy and I have mentioned them.
Teachers are officers in the army of national progress
I wish to raise some other points. The first one is about teachers. In the educational system, no element is as influential as teachers. Teachers are determining factors. In the great cultural army where you are present – the educational system which is comprised of millions of members – the officers that manage individuals and run organizations are teachers. Every teacher has a specific duty and is doing a specific task and each and every one of them is actually managing a group of people. In fact, teachers are officers in the army of national progress. This is because education and edification is a means for achieving progress in the country. Our dear teachers are the officers of this army of national progress in the true sense of the word – I am not saying this as a formality.
Three important factors in protecting the position and status of teachers: 1. Teachers themselves
Well, we should protect teachers’ position and role. Who should do so? Primarily, teachers themselves. Teachers should know and pay attention that the country’s future will be affected by their determination and their intelligence. They should know that what they do in the classroom – no matter who their audience is: it could be little children or youth who are 17, 18 years old – builds the future of the country. Every teacher should have this feeling as this gives them self-confidence, hope and motivation to carry out their duties well and to consider their position to be a high position. When you yourselves consider your position to be a high position, it does not matter how people think. When one understands what a high status one has – as teaching enjoys a really high status – this will help one to guard and to protect it.
2: Support offered by the educational system
The second factor is the educational system that should support teachers in practice. I became happy at the report delivered by Mr. Minister about teachers’ accommodation – I had not heard it before. These tasks should be carried out. Of course, the Majlis and various other organizations in charge of these affairs – the Planning and Budget Organization and others – should help as well. We should not look at the educational system like a system that only consumes, rather we should look at it like an infrastructural organization. If you spend billions in order to build a dam or a highway, for example, you never think that you have wasted your money. The educational system is far more important than every other construction organization in the country. The educational system is a place where one invests! No matter how much money you spend on the educational system, you are making an investment and you are building an infrastructure. Everyone should pay attention to this. The Majlis, the administration, the Budget and Planning Organization and the educational system itself should pay attention to this point. This is the second factor for protecting the position and status of teachers.
3: Promotional organizations
The third factor is promotional organizations which should create a culture. In other words, teaching should be portrayed as a lofty position. This duty primarily falls on the IRIB. For example, you can make a movie in which a teacher plays such an important role that when you watch it, you dream about becoming a teacher. This is a necessary task. I mentioned the making of a movie, but this does not mean that we should make a movie and then think that the task is over. This should turn into an orientation for promoting teachers and teaching in various artistic ways and we should do something to make the respect accorded to teachers become a public culture so that it can influence public opinion. This is another factor. If this happen, then teachers’ position will rise in importance. This was another issue which is about preserving teachers’ position and status.
The Farhangian and Shahid Rajai universities should be the only paths for teachers’ entrance into the educational system
The second issue is about employing teachers. Where do we find teachers? How should we train them? In my opinion, the two universities that you have established are very good. I raised the same points at Farhangian University in the year 1397. Farhangian and Shahid Rajai universities are the best centers that have been established in the country for attending to cultural and other such matters. We should act in a way that no teacher can enter the educational system through paths other than these. We should raise the capacity of Farhangian and Shahid Rajai universities in a way that all teachers will be obliged to pass through these centers in order to enter the educational system. Even short-term courses – one-year and other such courses – that are organized here and there should be under the supervision and guidance of Farhangian and Shahid Rajai universities. This is a very necessary task. So, one point is that the path to enter the educational system should only be this. I would like to point out to the dear Members of Parliament that they should not pass a law allowing a group of people to enter the educational system in a haphazard and disorganized way. This is not a good course of action. Whatever is done, you should pay attention that teachers’ entrance into the educational system should be conducted through these two universities.
The necessity to set up a vetting process in appointing teachers
The second task is that these two universities themselves should vet teachers’ eligibility: They should pay attention to their religious, moral and political eligibility as much as they can. They should select, in the true sense of the word, individuals for entrance into the educational system. Of course, we have an unpleasant experience concerning the process of vetting in recent years as we did not have correct criteria for vetting individuals. For example, they ask a youth a difficult fiqhi question and when they do not answer it, they will be rejected. Even if we put the question to a faqih, it would not be clear if he would be ready to answer it immediately or not. You should not adopt such measures. There should be an intelligent and correct vetting process so that individuals can pass through with correct criteria and so that incompetent individuals will not enter the educational system as it will be a source of loss for us. Teaching is so significant and valuable and we have said many things in praising the position of teaching. Therefore, if an incompetent or, God forbid, a harmful element passes through, this will naturally produce the opposite results.
The importance of observing educational justice
The next point is about educational justice. I have spoken at length about educational justice. The fact that our students in such an such a remote area should have the same educational resources as our students in such and such an area in Tehran is an essential principle. However, if someone proves to be more talented – as it happens, sometimes one witnesses really outstanding talents in remote areas – this is alright. However, we should act in a way that everyone can benefit from equal educational shares in the educational system of the country. Therefore, educational justice means this. Of course, now that the issue of online education has arisen, the issue of justice has become more sensitive. This is because not everyone might have the resources and the financial means to benefit from online education. We should think about this. You should think of what you can do. Of course, I have heard that you have begun certain things. You should continue and follow them up. In particular, the IRIB should help as televised education can make up for an important part of such shortcomings because after all, educational justice is very important.
Another point about educational justice concerns state schools. We should take care not to do something to make students at state schools feel that they have a smaller chance of succeeding in the entrance exam. This should not be the case. In other words, we should raise the quality of state schools, both in terms of education and in terms of edification, in a way that students feel confident and in a way that the parents wishing to send their children to such schools do not get the feeling that they are sending them to a poor place where they are completely abandoned. This should not be the case. We should attend to state schools in the true sense of the word.
The possible detriments of virtual education
There is another point about virtual education which is the detriments that virtual education potentially contains. The happy environment that has been created through virtual education is a good thing, but you should take care not to let youth enter a free and unrestricted zone so much so that they will become busy with things that are dangerous to them in terms of morals and beliefs. You should be careful about this and you should predict. Of course, yesterday or the day before yesterday, they delivered a report to me about the measures that the educational system has adopted in this regard, but you should work more in this regard. This cannot be ignored. This is because children’s close contact with cyberspace has certain advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is what I just mentioned. Another disadvantage is that children might become isolated at home. When they become familiar with tablets and other such devices, they become busy with them and they gradually drift away from the family environment. You should pay attention to these points and take care not to let this happen. This was another point.
The necessity to attend to moral lessons and activities
The next point that I wish to emphasize is the issue of moral lessons. In the present time, the edification aspect of the educational system is lagging behind. One can say this in a definite manner and without any considerations. Despite all emphases in this area, the issue of edification has unfortunately fallen behind. We have not paid the necessary attention to the issue of edification and therefore, we should start to pay it due attention. Now, with the emergence of online and virtual education, this concept will become even more important. You should find new methods and ways in order to convey the edifying aspect of the educational system to the millions of teenagers that are available to you.
The importance of identifying and cultivating exceptional talents
The next point is about exceptional talents schools, as pointed out by Mr. Minister. I would like to stress this matter as well. Well, the regulations were finally announced, although with a delay. This is very good. You should attend to the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents [SAMPAD]. The development of exceptional talents is a very important and fundamental matter. We should identify and cultivate these talents in the true sense of the word.
“Might that a heavenly man gives fresh impetus to an army” [from a poem by Mehrdad Avesta]
Sometimes, you see that an exceptional and outstanding talent helps the country get through an important and dangerous pass and this will lead to great achievements. We really need such talents and we do not have a shortage of them. First of all, our national intelligence is higher than that of global average, and even among our youth and teenagers, there is not a shortage of exceptional and outstanding talents. You should follow up these matters, God willing, because it will do us good. The country’s place in international competitions should go up. Mr. Minister mentioned that our rank is like the past, but it is like which past? In recent years, we did not have a brilliant place in international competitions. If our rank is like recent years, this is not a good thing. However, if it is like the years before that – when the number and the color of medals were more outstanding – that will be good.
The necessity to have the educational system be in charge of nursery schools and preschools
Another issue is about nursery schools and preschools. Unfortunately, nursery schools have been ignored, but they are under the supervision of the educational system as well. First of all, various executive organizations have disputes over this matter and therefore, these disputes should be settled. Besides, when you abandon them, others will take over people’s children and they will give them wrong instructions. I have received very bad reports about some nursery schools which are really a cause for concern. It should be you who run nursery schools. Nursery schools are not merely a public service center, created to keep children there and render a service in this regard, rather in one sense, they are an educational center. However, they educate with their own special language and method. When I say that you should have plans for nursery schools, it goes without saying that preschools are also very important in this regard. They are important places on which you should think and for which, you should have plans as well. Everyone naturally passes through preschools, but it did not use to be like that in the past. You should run preschools in a way that children can make the most of it, God willing.
The reason why global taghuts insist on infiltrating other countries’ educational systems
The last point that I wish to discuss is that we should think why global taghuts and pharaohs insist so much on infiltrating into other countries’ educational systems. We should deliberate on this matter a little bit. They sometimes do this by kicking up a fuss through education agendas such as 2030 which caused a commotion throughout the world. This means the infiltration of western culture, lifestyle and goals into all countries in the world. Why? For what reason? Why should a country – like our country with its deep-rooted, divine and religious culture and with its brilliant Iranian culture – be influenced by the educational system of those whose civilization and culture is a new false and materialistic thing which has proved to be a failure?
Today, western social philosophy has failed in the west itself. Notice what is happening there. On that day, I spoke about what is happening in the US. In the US, there is corruption from Hollywood to Pentagon – the distance between the two. There is corruption in the former, in the latter and in the distance between the two. Why should the culture of a country such as that of an Islamic country like Iran or other Islamic countries or other countries in the world be influenced by a document which has been prepared by individuals in such civilizations and countries and in such corrupt and false societies? Therefore, pay attention that their infiltration and their insistence on infiltration is because of the influence of educational systems. It is because they can attain their goals this way while they cannot achieve them through military ways. Sometimes, they try to infiltrate with public weapons such as 2030 Education Agenda. Unfortunately, in our country, this document received some attention.
In the present time, I have heard that some parts of this document are being implemented here and there by some corrupt or ignorant elements. I strongly request that Mr. Minister follow up this matter. This is like what the enemies did when they infiltrated the educational systems of some regional countries. They are changing schoolbooks, teachers’ circumstances and educational methods in a quiet manner and without causing a stir. We are aware of this. They select some individuals and they take them to their countries to train them for a while and then bring them back. They want to infiltrate our educational system. In my opinion, this is very important. It is necessary that everyone become sensitive about the enemy’s infiltration. Everyone should be sensitive and vigilant. He insists on infiltrating and you should know why he does so. With such infiltration, he wishes to attain his evil goals and he wants to build individuals who think like him. So, the enemy, who wishes to plunder other countries, will easily and comfortably carry out his act of plunder when there are some individuals inside the country who agree with this act and who think like he does. In any case, we should pay attention to this matter.