Wednesday , 12 June 2024

Poverty Forces Nearly 1 Million Iranians Out Of School, Data Shows

RFL/RE – Some 930,000 Iranian children and adolescents were forced to abandon their education in the recent academic year, the Statistical Center of Iran reported, in a potential indication of rising poverty in the Islamic Republic.

According to official data, there are 3,6 million individuals of school age in Iran.

In an analysis of the latest data from the Statistical Center, Tejarat News, a website that covers economic issues, said the majority of school dropouts — 556,994 — come from the 15-17-year age group.

The phenomenon has been attributed to deepening poverty in the country, an opinion echoed by educational activists and experts alike.

At the start of the current academic year, the Organization of Iranian Teachers and the Cultural Educators’ Assembly issued statements decrying the socio-economic disparities and that plague Iran’s educational sector.

The government-affiliated Resalat newspaper acknowledged a surge in the dropout rate of more than 17 percent over the past six years, attributing this escalation to the country’s worsening poverty.

Iran’s economy has been ravaged by U.S. sanctions, hitting budget revenues hard while also leading to a surge in public protests.

Labor Ministry data shows that Iran’s poverty rate doubled in 2021, with one-third of the population living in “extreme poverty.” Since then, conditions have failed to improve.

Meanwhile, in September, Iran’s Misery Index, calculated by the Iranian Statistics Center, rose to 60.4 — its highest point ever and more than double what it was six years ago. The higher the rating, the worse off people feel.

Several protests have been held by Iranians over the past year in response to declining living standards, wage arrears, and a lack of welfare support.

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly has added fuel to the unrest, as Iranians have also demonstrated against a lack of freedoms and women’s rights.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda