Iran Education and Health

Iran Education and Health


Like Mohammad Reza Shah before, the Islamic Republic saw education from the outset as a means of strengthening national sovereignty, so much emphasis is placed on the state education system. The illiteracy rate in Iran is also significantly lower than in many countries in the region. In addition, education serves the state as a bracket for ethnic and linguistic minorities in the country, since knowledge is conveyed solely in Persian.

School system

According to politicsezine, the Iranian school system was once based on the French model. Primary and secondary school last a total of 10 years, including a voluntary pre-school year. For years, the Iranian government has also been trying to improve the quality of primary schools (6 years) in rural regions in a targeted manner, for example through the students who have to work as teachers there as part of their studies. Successes can be seen, but overall still manageable. This is intended to reduce the differences between urban and rural areas. After ten years of school, students have to choose between a pre-vocational branch or a pre-university education. Here you can choose between the natural sciences and the humanities. The secondary level ends with the Abitur and a six-month preparatory course for university studies.

Education and higher education

Before starting to study, every Iranian must pass a general entrance exam, which is generally considered to be very difficult. After passing the exam, a bachelor’s degree can be acquired in four years and a master’s degree after another two years. There are state and private universities, the former are usually free. Iran spends 18.6% of its government spending on the education sector (as of 2015) and is thus far ahead worldwide. In total there are about 300 universities in Iran, the largest university in the country is the University of Tehran.

There are also a large number of private training centers in Iran for vocational training and further education. The Iranian state is increasingly supporting these centers in order to reduce the high unemployment rate, at least in the future. In order to increase the awareness of these training centers, listings are publicly available in all major cities.

In the education sector in particular, there are numerous collaborations between Iran and Europe and especially with Germany. There are several exchange programs and German-Iranian double degrees.

In addition to secular education, there are a large number of religious schools and universities, especially in Qom, which are supposed to secure the clerical offspring of the Islamic Republic by means of a wide-ranging scholarship system from large religious foundations. Because of the still relatively good job prospects, this path is still chosen by many young men, especially from rural areas.


The urban-rural divide is also evident in the healthcare sector. Although it is almost nationwide today, according to the WHO, 98% of all Iranians have access to medical care (100% in cities, 95% in rural areas), but the quality of this care varies. In 2014 there were around 1.49 doctors per 1,000 residents, plus around 0.2 beds in hospitals. In 2015, only 7.6% of the state budget went to the Ministry of Health. The costs for hospitals are reduced, among other things, because the supply of the sick person with daily necessities, such as food, still largely falls to his family.

There is both statutory and private health insurance in Iran. Statutory health insurance is open to all government employees on the one hand and to employees of private companies, provided the latter bear the costs. If they do not do this, Iranian citizens have to take out private health insurance.

The most common diseases are measles, malaria, which occurs mainly in the regions of the Persian Gulf, and various diseases caused by meningococci. Another major problem, for which there are still few reliable figures, is the increasing number of HIV infections, which is due not least to the drug addiction of many young Iranians.

Aesthetic surgery has been an important sector of the Iranian health care system for years. Especially rhinoplasty are very popular among young Iranians, only in the USA are more such interventions carried out worldwide. One reason for this, especially with women, is that, due to the dress code, they can only use their face to “present” themselves, and this should then be as flawless as possible. In addition, nose operations are seen as a sign of a Western lifestyle, which is very important to many young Iranians. After all, corrected noses are also a status symbol, as they indicate a full bank account. Years ago it became fashionable among poor Iranians to simply stick a plaster on their nose to simulate an operation.

Zoroastrian temple in Yazd Iran