Being A Student in Iran: 2016 vs 2017 – What Has Changed?
Even though nuclear sanctions were removed in 2016, the economy is still unstable. Many young people are unemployed, even those who have university qualifications and skilled citizens are leaving the country. Within the higher education sector, there is a severe shortage of places at postgraduate level meaning even more young people are moving abroad to find suitable opportunities. Furthermore, the combination of changing demographics and the investment in education may prove to change this trend in the coming years, but in the short term, at least the departure of students will continue.
For the majority of university programmes, students are required to undertake entrance examinations. During this initial year, students specialise in a particular field such as arts, experimental science, humanities or Islamic culture completed at a pre-university centre. Once students pass this year of study, they can complete their examination for admission to Konkur.
In Iran, public universities are free, and approximately 50% of students live in university accommodation. However, standards are poor. Students live in dirty and crowded accommodation. As there are not as many prospects for Iranian students, more and more are applying to universities overseas.
In 2014 Iran spent 2.95% of its GDP on education which is relatively high in comparison with other countries. Iran has a high standard of literacy which is 84.6% with the literacy rate for those between the age of 15 and 24 years is even higher at 98%.
All educational establishments with the exception of medical schools are managed under the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. All Programmes at private universities must be approved, and quality assurance is also managed by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.
Public universities in Iran have a good reputation, particularly in relation to engineering courses at undergraduate level. Currently, there are many different types of post-secondary education options for young people. There are technical institutes and regional centres for vocational education as two examples.
The government of Iran enforce strict controls over the country’s education. National examinations are closely supervised, so too are standards, teacher training, curriculum and learning materials. Educational policies are approved by a number of bodies including the Parliament and Ministers.
In the first two years of technical and academic studies, students will now follow one of four subject areas in their final year. Students in a technical stream will follow business, vocational, technical or agricultural based subjects.
In recent years there have been a number of initiatives to improve the quality of Iranian higher education. There have been several partnerships between Iranian universities and those overseas in areas of research and technology. Universities have also benefitted from research opportunities which have significantly increased the resources available to universities in the country.
Approximately 1,100 international students received scholarships, and the government funded the costs associated with the students remaining in the country. The University of Tehran now has plans to deliver joint scientific courses with renowned universities in the US and France.
University study in Iran looks promising. If the country continues to improve and introduce even more partnerships with overseas universities, students have more opportunities to study in higher education.