Girls’ education in main cities’ universities only with their parents’ written permission

Author: Taraneh Baniyaghoob

Translator: Shabnam Ghafourian

Original article:

A plan has been approved by authorities in Iran. The plan forces all universities to admit only local female students. From now on if a girl wants to go to a university except one in her own town or city, she should have her father or husband‘s written permission.
Localising university students in the university entrance exam, which has begun from last September, has new dimensions. Many still remember the protest of entrance exam candidates in front of exam office in 2008. They asked officials to explain how and on what basis universities get admission to students.

Some candidates, as usual, with high score had chosen the best universities as their first choice. They were unaware of the fact that according to approved law of “high council of cultural revolution” ۶۵% of universities should pick local candidates. So each candidate has a bigger chance to get admitted into their local universities.

Some changes have happened in the plan. Some experts talk about new regulation named “female localization of university entrance exam”. According to this regulation female students are forced to study in their local universities.

This regulation was proposed by 37 members of parliament and has been submitted to the parliament. According to this, all of the public and/or private universities have to act in a way that female candidates get admitted in their parents’ or husband’s area of residence. Also universities should approve the female students transfer request to a university in their husband’s or parents’ are of residence.
A note has accomplished this regulation: “Education of female university students in non local universities is dependent on their husband’s or parents’ written permission.”

The plan with other suggestions for localization of university students were submitted to the “high council of cultural revolution” by members of parliament. According to MPs from the beginning, this institution was responsible for localization plan.

During the last month experts and some of MPs expressed their opposition to this plan and declared this is destructive for education system. But the chair person of “high council of cultural revolution” says something else:” localization plan is the right decision; we should not allow that talented students and elites of an area leave their region.” According to Mohammad Reza Mokhber, a large number of elites immigrate to other cities and never come back to their own cities. Then why should we tolerate that those regions get deprived from these talented people.

Female students localising increases immigration
Among signatories of the female student localization plan , we can see the name of Asadollah Badamchian next to the name of Alireza Mahjoob .Also among the 37 signatories names ,the name of Efat Shariati, member of central council of Zainab Society can be seen. Mosa Ghorrbani, Ali Motahari, Mohammad Taghi Rahbar and Shahabodin Sadr are other signatories MPs.

Efat Shariati MP of Mashhad and the only female signatory says: “f female student localization is considered with its essential conditions, it is excellent. For example assume a female student who got admission from a university in a remote city and she has no facilities, if she can study next to her family in her own city it is ideal. However this plan should not deprive her from her right to choose. If she wants to go to other universities in other cities she has the freedom to do so.”
But some experts believe this plan deprives many of female students from studying in their favourite university.

Shariati explains: “This plan has not caused any limitation for girls and if a family is happy to send their daughter to study in another city it is alright. This plan just facilitates the conditions of students transferring to another university permanently or temporarily.” According to her, during last years many female students came to her and requested for transfer to a university in their parents’ city.

Ali Moshiri, a university lecturer, has another idea; “Localization is an issue which needs lots of research and considerations. When we live in a country where social and economic facilities have not been distributed equally, talking about localization is nonsense. Can we compare university facilities in big cities like Tehran with small cities? So how can we ask young people to study in their own cities?”
He also sees the female student localization plan so discriminative: “This plan encourages girls’ families to immigrate and high school students will go to bigger cities’ schools. So they can go to big cities’ universities much easier.” In his opinion although this plan has been designed to reduce girls’ social problems, it is not effective and develops new kind of social problems.

Female students localization solves social problems
“When girls move to other cities to study, it causes some problem for their families as well as society. If they stay with their families they help to improve the peace of society and themselves,” Mosa Ghorbani, the head of judiciary commission of parliament and one of the other signatories says. In his opinion many girls have problems studying in other cities and this plan solves their problems. Others who do not have problems can still go to other cities with their husband’s and families’ written permission.

Parents’ or husband’s permission is an issue which worries some experts. They believe this requirement limits girls’ favourite education condition. Moshiri says: “some courses and universities give admissions only to candidates who got high scores and we should not deprive girls from their interests by this kind of conditions.”

But Ghorbani has another idea in this regard: “Even now if a woman wants to study, her husband’s permission is essential and if he does not agree it causes some problem. So this matter has already existed and the girls who are interested to study in other cities can do so after getting their husband’s or parents’ permission.”

Moshiri mentioned another point: “Female student localization is interfering in families’ matters because they may have relatives or friends in that city and want to use these facilities for their daughter’s education. University students are cultural ambassadors and we should not be afraid of them being in different cities.”

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