What Does the Education System Look Like in Iran?

The education system in Iran is quite different from what students are used to in the United States. In Iran, education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 18. The educational system is divided into three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Checkout this video:


The education system in Iran is highly centralized and is divided into two main sections. The first section is the general education which includes primary and secondary school. The second section is the higher education which consists of universities and other tertiary institutions.

The general education lasts for 12 years and is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 18. The higher education lasts for 4 years and is open to students who have completed their general education.

The educational system in Iran has been praised for its high literacy rate, but it has also been criticized for its gender segregation and lack of creativity.

The Structure of Education in Iran

Iran’s education system is divided into three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. All education in Iran is free and compulsory up to the age of 18. The literacy rate in Iran is high, and the government is constantly making reforms to improve the education system. Let’s take a closer look at the structure of education in Iran.

Primary and Secondary Education

There are two main types of education in Iran: primary and secondary. All children are required to attend primary school for six years, followed by three years of secondary school. The education system is free at both the primary and secondary level, and there are a number of private schools which charge fees.

primary education usually starts at age six, and consists of six years of schooling. The curriculum is focused on Iranian and Islamic studies, as well as math, science, and English. At the end of primary schooling, students sit for a national exam known as the Konkoor.

Secondary education lasts for three years, and students can choose to either attend a general secondary school or a technical/vocational school. General secondary schools offer a broad curriculum including subjects such as Iranian and Islamic studies, math, science, English, history, and geography. Technical/vocational schools focus on training students in specific skillsets such as mechanics or carpentry. Upon completion of secondary schooling, students sit for the national university entrance exam known as the Kankoor.

Higher Education

Iran’s higher education system comprises both public and private institutions. The majority of students enrolled in higher education attend public institutions, which are overseen by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. Private institutions are regulated by the Ministry of Education.

There are three types of higher education institutions in Iran: universities, institutes of technology and vocational training centres. Universities offer a wide range of academic programmes leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Institutes of technology specialise in technical and engineering programmes, while vocational training centres provide short-term courses leading to diplomas and certificates.

Admission to higher education programmes in Iran is based on entrance exams known as the Konkoor (national competitive examination). The Konkoor is open to all Iranian citizens who have completed high school. Foreign students can also sit the Konkoor, but they must first obtain a residence permit from the Iranian government.

Higher education programmes in Iran typically last four years for bachelor’s degrees, two years for master’s degrees and four years for doctorates.

The Quality of Education in Iran

The education system in Iran is highly centralized, with the Ministry of Education in charge of educational policy. All schools in Iran are required to teach a curriculum that is approved by the Ministry of Education. However, the quality of education in Iran varies greatly between rural and urban areas, and between private and public schools.

The Literacy Rate in Iran

The literacy rate in Iran is estimated to be about 86.7%. This means that out of every 100 people in Iran, about 87 can read and write. The male literacy rate is higher than the female literacy rate, estimated at 93% and 80% respectively.

The education system in Iran is divided into three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primary level lasts for six years, secondary level lasts for three years, and the tertiary level consists of universities and other institutions of higher education which offer academic degrees.

There are a number of universities and colleges in Iran which offer education at the tertiary level. Some of the most notable ones include Tehran University, Sharif University of Technology, Shahid Beheshti University, Isfahan University of Technology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Amirkabir University of Technology, and Tarbiat Modares University.

The Gender Gap in Education

Despite recent progress, there is still a significant gender gap in education in Iran. While the literacy rate among women has increased significantly in recent years, there are still large disparities between men and women when it comes to education.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the gender gap in education in Iran. One of the most significant factors is the lack of opportunities for girls and women to access education. In many parts of Iran, girls are not able to attend school due to cultural and social barriers. Additionally, economic barriers can prevent girls from attending school as families may not be able to afford the costs of education.

The government of Iran has made some efforts to address the gender gap in education. In recent years, the government has implemented policies that aim to increase access to education for girls and women. Additionally, the government has allocated more resources to education in marginalized communities where girls and women are more likely to face educational barriers.

Despite these efforts, the gender gap in education persists in Iran. This is due to a number of factors, including entrenched social norms and discrimination against girls and women.

The Challenges Facing Education in Iran

Iran’s education system has been through a lot of changes in recent years. The country has been trying to improve its education system, but there are still some challenges. One of the main challenges is the high dropout rate. In addition, the quality of education is not always consistent, and there are still some gender disparities in education. Let’s take a closer look at the education system in Iran.

Economic Sanctions

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Iran has been subject to economic sanctions from the United States, European Union and United Nations. These sanctions have had a significant impact on Iran’s economy and have been particularly damaging to the education sector.

Since 2011, Iran’s economy has shrunk by 9%, while its population has grown by 7%. This means that there are fewer resources available per person, including for education. In addition, the sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to import educational materials and technology. For example, in 2012, Iran was only able to import $2 million worth of textbooks, compared to $8 million in 2010. This has had a knock-on effect on educational standards and has made it more difficult for students to learn.

The economic sanctions have also made it more difficult for Iranian students to study overseas. In 2012, the number of Iranian students studying in the United States dropped by 60%. This is because the sanctions make it harder for Iranians to get visas and access to financial aid. As a result, many Iranians are missing out on opportunities to get a top-quality education.

Iranian students are not the only ones affected by the sanctions. The sanctions have also made it harder for foreign universities to collaborate with Iranian universities. This is because they are often deterred by the red tape and bureaucracy involved in getting approval from the US government. As a result, Iranian universities are losing out on valuable opportunities to learn from their international counterparts.

The economic sanctions have had a detrimental effect on education in Iran. They have reduced resources available for education, made it harder for students to access quality educational materials and prevented Iranian universities from collaborating with international institutions.

Brain Drain

A “brain drain” is when a large number of people who have the skills and knowledge needed to do a certain job leave a country to go work somewhere else. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:

-The person may not be able to find a job in their field in their home country.
-The person may be able to find a job, but the salary is not enough to live on.
-The person may be looking for new opportunities or challenge.
-The person may be escaping political or social unrest.

In recent years, Iran has been facing a brain drain problem. This is due to a combination of factors, including:

-A lack of jobs in certain fields, such as engineering and medicine.
-Low salaries compared to other countries.
-Political and social unrest.

As a result of the brain drain, Iran is losing its best and brightest minds to other countries. This is having a negative impact on the country’s economy and its ability to compete on the global stage.


In conclusion, the education system in Iran is extremely centralized and controlled by the government. There is a strong emphasis on rote learning and memorization, and students are typically not encouraged to think critically or analytically. The curriculum is also very focused on religious studies. However, there are a number of private schools and universities that offer a more progressive and international education.

Scroll to Top