Teachers in Literacy Movement, from various cities and provinces, staged a protest in front of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) on Monday.
The protestors gathered on May 4, 2020, to demand that entrance exams for teaching universities be canceled.
“Given that we have been teaching for several years, and that some of us work as contract teachers, we should not have to worry about an entrance exam for the Teachers University,” said teachers participating in the Literacy Movement. The teachers are complaining that they have repeatedly contacted various officials, including members of the regime’s parliament.
The teachers reiterated that the test for other groups- such as soldiers serving as teachers – has been waived. “There should not be discrimination against educators. The educators of this movement have worked for years, in remote and rural areas of the country, at the lowest wages. They deserve more attention,” the teachers declared.
Protesters carried placards reading, “Elimination of the entrance exam is our inalienable right.”
Living conditions of teachers, half of whom are women, are far below world standards. Challenges the teachers must confront include months of delay in receiving their salaries, being deprived of remuneration, overtime, insurance, and entitlements. These challenges make life more difficult for teachers. Conditions are such that teachers must worry about earning a living to support their families while they should be focused on the quality of their students’ education.
Most teachers in Iran work as private contractors, at salaries below 1 million Tomans. Despite the teachers’ deeper academic backgrounds and work experience, they are paid a third of the wages of a formally employed teacher and face more challenging and gruesome working conditions. Contract teachers are deprived of employment benefits, have no job security, and are overlooked during informal employment.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, active and retired teachers participated in more than 200 sit-ins and protests.