Iran has called for an end to teaching English in primary schools, a senior education official said in an interview on Sunday.
Speaking to national broadcaster IRIB, High Education Council leader Mehdi Navid-Adham called the English language a gateway to the “cultural invasion” of the West.
“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Navid-Adham was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
“This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid.”
In 2016, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced his outrage over a similar “cultural invasion” when he learned some private daycare centers were teaching English.
According to Iranian news outlet Tabnak, a spokesman for the education ministry confirmed the ban but said “this is nothing new. In the approved national curriculum, English instruction doesn’t begin until seventh grade, the first year of high school.”
However, the rule is likely to affect private schools that offer English instruction to younger students.
The announcement comes after a week of protests against the theocratic government over the country’s struggling economy, which Khamenei has blamed on foreign agents.