Since the ancient time, learning different sciences was important for Iranians, although at times not everybody enjoyed the right of education. Education in Iran before the advent of Islam in 651 C.A. was mainly exclusive for monarchs, courtiers, and wealthy families. However, after the rise of Islam, it became gradually more popular and early educational centers known as Maktab and Akaber were established.
In the course of the Islamic period, when there was peace in Iran, as it was the case during Shah Abbas of Safavid Era (1501-1736), schools were more prosperous and separate educational centers in different fields such as Jurisprudence and Theology were established. During the Qajar Era (1796-1925), Amir Kabir became the prime minister of Naser Al-Din Shah and founded Dar ul-Funun School in 1851 as the first modern university in the country, followed by other schools like Sepah Salar School.
Following the popularity of modernity, the Constitutional Revolution during 1905-1911, and people’s increasing participation in social and political movements, education became a necessary part of the young generation’s life. Notably, girls and women who were so far deprived of the literacy right found an opportunity to experience education equality like men.
During the Pahlavi Era (1925-1979) and following the mandatory education law, more schools and vocational centers were founded gradually in most cities and villages. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and in the aftermath of the establishment of Education Ministry, the emphasis on the improvement of literacy was kept both for young generations and for those adults and old generations who had already been illiterate.
Schools in Iran encompass two separate periods of Elementary and High School, each of which takes six years. After receiving the High School Diploma, students take the University Entrance Exam if they are going to enter the public universities. Although most of the Iranian students aim to have a minimum of bachelor’s degree, many also prefer to enter the labor market and learn through experience, focusing more on practical knowledge.
In the past, occupations were mostly hereditary such that sons followed in their father’s footsteps taking control of a family business. However, today, young generations pursue their own interests and jobs though, at the same time, unemployment is a problem and a matter of their complaint. Modernity has made some fields of works obsolete or even forgotten, and in contrast, it has created some new jobs.
Because of job security, the Iranian would rather be employed by different governmental or semi-governmental organizations, rather than being an entrepreneur and self-employed. Nevertheless, there are also entrepreneurs in industrial sectors, who take the risk and create jobs in a country against which the toughest economic sanctions of the world are imposed.