What's it like to be a teacher in Iran on World Teachers Day?

Every year, the world celebrates "World Teachers Day" to remember and honor the contributions and dedication of teachers to the future generation and society as a whole. 

This week's "World Teachers Day," also known as International Teachers Day, was celebrated on Oct. 5.  Established in 1994, it commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

Teaching is one of the most appreciated professions today.  Unfortunately, in Iran, the situation is just the opposite: teaching is one of the most poorly paid professions in the country.

In recent years, teachers in Iran who call for better working conditions have launched campaigns to protest against teachers' severe living conditions, very low quality of social insurance, and zero-level job security.  As a result, they have faced harassment and imprisonment.

In an explicit breach of the International Human Rights Convention, teacher protests have been attacked by Iran's security forces as well as secret agents of its ministry of intelligence, leading to the arrests of many teachers and participants after the protests.  At one, a teacher said: "It is quite disgraceful that teachers are being treated like convicts [for] their protest demanding their rights."

The average teacher's salary in Iran is about $300 per month.  Many teachers are obliged to take on additional jobs to make a living.

According to a National Council of Resistance in Iran report, "Millions of Dollars Embezzlement in Teachers' Investment Fund" is one notable headline.  Among these embezzlements is the embezzlement related to the teachers' pension fund is different, both in terms of its extent and the amount embezzled, showing yet another aspect of the mafia network within the regime.

"Thousands of billions of tomans (Iran's currency) were put at the disposal of a few, without them being required to put up any collateral," says the regime's Judiciary Spokesman, Mohseni Ejei.

Teachers claimed they have been mistreated and decided to observe Oct. 5, World Teachers Day, as a black day to protest.

The teachers' union has prepared and organized protests and rallies for a full-day strike on October 5 in all the main centers and many cities.

During the last year, a wave of teacher strikes across Iran has already happened.

Iran, April 12, 2018 – Teachers from the cities of Ghaleganj and Roodbar, in the eastern Iranian province of Kerman on Thursday, April 12, gathered in protest in front of the provincial municipality.  These teachers have been deprived of their salaries for the past year.

 They held banners that read: "The teachers' new year celebration only comes when a year's work of a teacher is paid the equivalent of 5 days' pay of the Minister of Education."

July 22,2018 – A large crowd of retired educators and other retirees who came from different cities to Tehran rallied in front of the regime's parliament.  The protesters chanted: "Leave Syria, think about us; Imprisoned teachers must be freed; We shall not give up until we get our rights; We have no food on our table, no more injustice and suppression."

May 12, 2018 – Many cities across the country see protests by teachers and other education workers.  The protesters demand that the Iranian regime respect the most basic rights of teachers, students, and the people of Iran.

May 10, 2018 – The working and retired educators in at least 32 cities, in different parts of the country, including Tehran, have a nationwide protest with the slogan "political prisoners must be freed."

Iranian resistance president-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has saluted Iranian political prisoners who have gone on hunger strikes in support of the rights of Iranian teachers.

"Hail to political prisoners and everyone who is on hunger strike in support of Iranian teachers," Mrs. Rajavi said on Saturday.  Her remarks were published on her Facebook page.

"The people of Iran stand by their teachers today, on hunger strike and in protests and resistance," Mrs. Rajavi said.

"Prosecution and harassment of officers of the Teachers' Corporate League indicates the mullahs' vulnerability to their organized protests," she added.

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate, specializing in political and economic issues relating to Iran and the Middle East.

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