چهارشنبه ، ۵ / آبان / ۱۳۹۵ - ۱۰:۲۸
کد مقاله : 1319
Women’s Right to Education in Iran: an Emphasis in Higher Education نسخه چاپی
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Women’s Right to Education in Iran: an Emphasis in Higher Education

Gholam Reza Zakersalehi

Institute for research & planning in higher education, Iran

rsalehi514@gmail.com

Advances in education research, vol 61, July 2014

Introduction

The education and employment of Women have been controversial issues worldwide, and the women have always suffered from discrimination and inequality in these regards. The World Education Report has talked about the feminization of poverty. 70% of world’s poor and 64% of the world’s illiterates are women. Only 33 percent of women get into higher education compared to men, and in developing countries, just 5 percent of them are employed, and less than one-seventh of management jobs are occupied by women (UNESCO,2000). The Right to Education is one of the basic human rights which is included in the important international statements such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The prerequisite to fully understand the right to education is to ensure accessibility to education. The present study aims to examine the status of Iranian women’s right to education in higher education.

Method

Legal analysis and statistical trend analysis have been used as the methods of the study. The statistics have been gathered from 1946 to 2013, and ups and downs and gender gap in education and the rapid rise of women concerning access to higher education have been examined.

The right to education indicators

Definitely, the best source to base the definition of education indicators is the general comment No. 13 of the interpretations committee of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The fourth paragraph of this interpretation refers to the important indicators of the right to education and deals with the governments’ commitment toward provision of these indicators.

  1. Availability

Educational institutions and training programs shall necessarily be available to everyone in sufficient numbers in member state’s area. The necessary function of these institutions and programs depends on several factors; For example, it is expected that all institutions and schools be required to have buildings, health facilities for women and men, safe drinking water, trained teachers who receive competitive salaries within their country, high quality educational materials, and occasionally, computer facilities.

  1. Accessibility

Training programs and institutions shall be accessible to everyone within the member state’s jurisdiction. The availability has three interrelated and overlapping aspects[1].

۲٫۱٫ Non-Discrimination

Education shall be accessible to all, particularly for vulnerable groups, both in law and in practice, without discrimination based on prohibited reasons.

۲٫۲٫ Physical Accessibility

Education shall be physically accessible in a safe and secure way, whether at a geographic location reasonably convenient and comfortable, e.g. a school in the neighborhood, or via modern technologies, e.g. access to distance learning programs.

۲٫۳٫ Economic Accessibility

Education costs shall be affordable for everyone. This aspect of accessibility is expressed in different terms, in Clause 2 of Article 13, about primary, secondary and tertiary education. While education shall be available free to all at primary level, all member states are required to also provide free secondary and higher education.

  1. Acceptability

The form and content of education, including curricula and teaching methodology shall be acceptable for the students, and for the parents, if appropriate. (e.g. relevant and culturally appropriate and of good quality)

  1. Adaptability

Education shall be flexible so that it can be adapted to the needs of communities and the changing populations, and meet the needs of students in different social and cultural situations.( CESCR General comment no 13)

Purely qualitative indicators such as acceptability and adaptability require extensive qualitative research and national surveys. However, we have official and reliable statistics on availability and accessibility. Therefore, this study further emphasizes the latter indicators.

 

Findings

In the laws, there are good regulatory requirements regarding the women’s right to education in Iran’s legal system. The following table reflects just some parts of these laws. At least the government is required to take some necessary measures; e.g. enforcing compulsory public education, providing free higher education and facilitation and popularization of it, and eliminating deprivation and discrimination in education.

 

۱-Under this law, all Iranian children and young people who are qualified to study shall study without any hindrance and no one can prevent them, except by a legal permission

۲-Professional education is free until the end of secondary education

۳-Parents or legal guardian of the adolescent less than 18 years old is required to provide the means of education, and in the absence of financial ability, the government is obliged to provide the necessary facilities for the study of these adolescents.

Provision of Education Means and Facilities to Iranian Children and Youth Act, 1974
Government is obliged to apply all its resources to the following:

Clause 3 – free education and physical training for all, at all levels, and facilitation and popularization of higher education;

Clause 4 – strengthening the spirit of inquiry, research and innovation in all fields of science, technology, culture and Islam by establishing research centers and encouraging the researchers;

Clause 9 – eliminating undue discrimination

Clause 13 – becoming self-sufficient in science, technology, industry, agriculture, and military, etc;

Clause 14 – Security of an all-inclusive rights of men and women

the Principle ۳ of the Constitution

 

 

The government is obliged to provide the means of education to the end of secondary education for all citizens and expand the free higher education facilities to the extent that the country becomes self-sufficient. the Principle ۳۰ of the Constitution
All citizens have the law in support of both men and women alike, and most human, political, economic, social and cultural rights are the Principle ۲۰ of the Constitution
Ensuring equal access to educational opportunities, especially in underserved areas, expanding knowledge and skills, and promoting productivity of human capital, especially for girls the Article ۵۲ of the fourth Development Plan

 

 

Women’s accessibility to higher education

In higher education sector, although Tehran University has been established in 1934, the number of female students was very small until twenty years after its establishment so that there was no need to gender segregation and mentioning the potential figures of women students in the statistics and official reports.

Women almost did not get into higher education until 1948. In 1948, the first group of women were accepted in Iran’s higher education. From then to 1961, the number of women increased consistently. In 1962, due to the then government’s policies regarding modernization and social policy, there was a rapid rise in women’s acceptance in higher education, so the number of women getting into higher education started to raise increasingly. In 1971, there was another rise in women’s participation in higher education which reached stability in the following years. This condition lasted until the occurrence of Cultural Revolution. After the Cultural Revolution and with the occurrence of the imposed war, the women’s number in higher education suffered a slight decrease. However, their number grew by the end of the war and the rise of constructive government and after 1994, it developed increasingly in such a way that with the beginning of the third development plan, the number of women in higher education was more than that of men.(Boozari,2001 &Hosseini & Salehi,2009)

Number of students in Iran segregated according to women and the whole during 1978- 2012

year woman total percentage
۱۹۶۹ ۱۶۹۴۹ ۶۷۲۶۸ ۲۵٫۲
۱۹۷۸ ۵۴٫۲۴۸ ۱۷۵۶۷۵ ۳۰٫۸۸
۱۹۷۹ ۵۳٫۵۷۱ ۱۷۴۲۱۷ ۳۰٫۷۵
۱۹۸۰ _ _ _
۱۹۸۱ _ _ _
۱۹۸۲ ۳۶٫۳۵۶ ۱۱۷۱۴۸ ۳۱٫۰۳
۱۹۸۳ ۳۸٫۶۴۳ ۱۲۱۰۴۸ ۳۱٫۹۲
۱۹۸۴ ۴۵٫۲۱۶ ۸۳۳۳۷ ۵۴٫۲۶
۱۹۸۵ ۵۰٫۸ ۱۶۷۴۵۷ ۳۰٫۳۴
۱۹۸۶ ۶۲٫۰۴۹ ۲۰۴۹۴۵ ۳۰٫۲۸
۱۹۸۷ ۸۱۱۴۱ ۲۶۹۵۴۹ ۳۰٫۱
۱۹۸۸ ۱۰۶۷۲۴ ۳۴۹۸۴۸ ۳۰٫۵۱
۱۹۸۹ ۱۳۲۱۸۷ ۴۲۶۰۹۶ ۳۱٫۰۲
۱۹۹۰ ۱۶۰۵۶۵ ۵۱۴۴۷۴ ۳۱٫۲۱
۱۹۹۱ ۱۹۱۵۱۷ ۵۸۸۴۲۲ ۳۲٫۵۵
۱۹۹۲ ۲۲۷۷۲۱ ۶۸۳۸۴۷ ۳۳٫۳
۱۹۹۳ ۲۷۶۱۵۲ ۸۲۶۸۹۳ ۳۳٫۴
۱۹۹۴ ۳۲۷۰۲۴ ۹۴۹۶۶۱ ۳۴٫۴۴
۱۹۹۵ ۳۷۴۲۲۱ ۱٫۰۴۶٫۲۵۴ ۳۵٫۷۷
۱۹۹۶ ۴۴۱۹۸۶ ۱٫۱۶۸٫۵۵۹ ۳۷٫۸۲
۱۹۹۷ ۵۰۱۹۴۵ ۱٫۲۸۴٫۷۱۸ ۳۹٫۰۷
۱۹۹۸ ۵۶۶۶۳۶ ۱٫۳۰۵٫۶۰۳ ۴۳٫۴
۱۹۹۹ ۶۳۶۰۳۱ ۱٫۴۰۵٫۰۶۶ ۴۵٫۲۷
۲۰۰۰ ۷۴۷۲۸۶ ۱٫۵۷۷٫۳۸۶ ۴۷٫۳۷
۲۰۰۱ ۷۶۸۵۹۷ ۱٫۵۶۶٫۹۶۳ ۴۹٫۰۵
۲۰۰۲ ۸۷۰۱۶۴ ۱٫۷۱۴٫۷۷۱ ۵۰٫۷۵
۲۰۰۳ ۹۷۵۴۵۱ ۱٫۸۹۲٫۹۷۶ ۵۱٫۵۳
۲۰۰۴ ۱۰۸۰۱۵۹ ۲٫۱۱۸٫۵۴۳ ۵۰٫۹۹
۲۰۰۵ ۱۲۳۱۵۶۵ ۲٫۳۹۰٫۸۶۳ ۵۱٫۵۱
۲۰۰۶ ۱۴۸۲۲۳۷ ۲٫۸۲۸٫۵۱۱ ۵۲٫۴
۲۰۰۷ ۱۷۹۵۸۳۶ ۳٫۳۹۱٫۸۵۲ ۵۲٫۹۵
۲۰۰۹- ۲۰۰۸ ۱۷۰۸۵۵۳ ۳۳۴۹۷۴۱ ۵۱٫۰۰
۲۰۱۰- ۲۰۰۹ ۱۸۷۴۹۶۶ ۳۷۹۰۸۸۷ ۴۹٫۴۵
۲۰۱۲- ۲۰۱۱ ۲۱۹۱۴۰۹ ۴۴۰۴۶۱۴ ۴۹٫۷۵

 

Resource: Statistics Book of Higher Education in Iran, Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education

According to the existing statistics, 16,949 women students were studying in the universities throughout the country in 1969 whose share was equal to 25.20 percent of the whole students in the country. Two decades later, in 1989, this share grew to 31 percent and then in 1998 jumped to 43.40 percent. In 2002, the number of female students was more than that of male students for the first time. However, this trend did not continue forever and began to decrease from the academic year of 2008-2009.

The red color in the chart below indicates that approximately 30% of girls aged 18 to 24 are receiving higher education. This indicator shows the better status of girls compared to boys from 2009 onward.

These indicators show the average of women’s participation and accessibility to education. The below table shows this participation according to academic degrees. Although the share of women is more in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and professional doctorate degree, men still surpass women in Ph.D. and associate’s degrees. From 1991 up to now, the share of women has been increasing and higher education has turned to be more female-oriented.

 

۱۹۹۱-۹۲ ۱۹۹۷-۹۸ ۲۰۱۱-۱۲
Women Total Percent    of Women Women Total Percent of Women Women Total Percent of Women
۶۴۷۱ ۴۳۱۳۱ ۱۵ ۳۱۷۰۸ ۹۸۰۱۶ ۳۲٫۳ ۳۸۰۶۰۴ ۱۰۰۰۱۶۴ ۳۸٫۱
۷۵۴۸۶ ۲۴۲۸۸۳۵ ۳۱٫۱ ۱۸۴۶۶۹ ۴۴۸۹۷ ۴۱٫۱ ۱۵۷۰۷۰۸ ۲۸۹۹۱۲۰ ۵۴٫۲
۲۳۵۶ ۱۴۰۷۰ ۱۶٫۷ ۵۳۲۰ ۲۹۰۹۵ ۱۸٫۳ ۱۹۱۵۸۱ ۴۰۵۰۴۲ ۴۷٫۳
۱۱۳۸۰ ۴۰۲۱۷ ۲۸٫۳ ۱۴۲۰۹ ۴۰۰۴۳ ۳۵٫۵ ۳۰۵۰۹ ۵۲۹۷۳ ۵۷٫۶
۱۲۷۶ ۳۷۹۲ ۳۳٫۶ ۲۷۸۱ ۹۲۵۶ ۳۰ ۱۸۰۰۷ ۴۷۳۱۵ ۳۸٫۱
۹۶۹۶۹ ۳۴۴۰۴۵ ۲۸٫۲ ۲۳۸۶۸۷ ۶۲۵۳۸۰ ۳۸٫۲ ۲۱۹۱۴۰۹ ۴۴۰۴۶۱۴ ۴۹٫۸

 

Resource: Statistics Book of Higher Education in Iran, years 1992, 1998, 2012

National Report of higher education in Iran

 

Variation in Accessibility to Higher Education

The variation in accessibility to higher education provides more choice for applicants and their families. During the last two decades, the bustling market of higher education in Iran paved the way for giving the young and middle-aged interested people various equal opportunities to enjoy educational services. This variation in accessibility is divided into at least 7 categories:

  • Variation in courses (daily attendance, evening attendance, semi-attendance, virtual, open, short-term, practical, etc.)
  • Variation in content
  • Secular universities
  • Religious universities
  • Variety in terms of education- and research-oriented courses
  • Variation in the nature of the university (comprehensive, industrial, humanities, art. etc.)
  • Variation in ownership (governmental, non-governmental, public sector)
  • Geographical variation of 2500 universities (capital city, centers of provinces, and small cities)
  • Variation in territory (inland and overseas branches)

Conclusion

The results show, in the constitutions and general laws, the women’s right to education is clearly inserted and well defined. The government is obliged to meet at least 4 legal obligations; enforcing compulsory public education, providing free higher education and facilitation and popularization of it, and eliminating discrimination. In practice, the 40-years-long trend analysis indicates the women have achieved considerable success in two important aspects of availability and diversity of accessibility, and also capability to accessibility, in higher education sector, in a way that there has been a rapid rise and broad extension in participation of women in education. However, they have not reached the same position as men in some courses such as Ph.D., yet, and global indicators do not show full equality in this degree of education, even in developed countries.

 

References:

  1. Hosseini Largani, and S.J. Salehi, Women and Higher Education in Islamic Republic of Iran, Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education, 2009, In Persian

Statistics Book of Higher Education in Iran, Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education, different years, in Persian

National Report of higher education in Iran, Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education, 2013

  1. Boozari, the Status of Women in Higher Education according to Statistics, in Proceedings of development of women’s participation in higher education, Social and Cultural Research and Planning Office of the Ministry of Science, 2001,In Persian

The world education report, UNESCO, 2000, in: www.unesco.org

CESCR General comment no 13 :”The right to Education”(Article 13 ICESCR),1999

[۱] General Comment No. ۱۳ (۱۹۹۹) The right to education

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