Iran Part 2: Upper secondary and pre-university education

ECE's newest research provides a comprehensive guide to evaluating educational qualifications from Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran: Its Educational System and Methods of Evaluation will be released online in six parts.

Part 2 is now available.

Read an excerpt below:

Secondary Education Reform Beginning 1992

The reform of the education system passed by parliament in 1990 divided the secondary cycle into two segments: a six-year lower and upper secondary segment and a one-year pre-university segment. Students must complete both segments to be eligible for university admission. However, admission to junior colleges and technical institutes is based on successful completion of the first segment only.

The reform of secondary education was phased in beginning in 1992 and was fully implemented for students entering upper secondary education (grades 9, 10, and 11) by the academic year of 1996-1997. Between 1995 and 1999, it should not be surprising to see a graduate of the former four-year program. The four-year and three-year structures co-existed during the mid to late 1990s. The change in structure was reflected in a change of educational documentation.

The first year is common to all students. Beginning with the second year (grade 10), students are selected to follow one of three branches: 1) theoretical; 2) vocational and technical; 3) vocational, also known as work knowledge training or kardanesh. The theoretical branch is further divided into four fields of study: experimental sciences; Islamic education; literature and humanities; and mathematics and physics. Whichever field the student chooses leads to the field of study in the pre-university year and eventually to higher education. For the past ten years, the number of secondary graduates has hovered between 850,000 to 900,000 students annually. While most female students study in the theoretical fields, most males complete technical and vocational programs.

National examinations are held at the end of each year in each subject. The Certificate of Completion of Secondary Education, more recently known as the Certificate of Completion of Secondary Education Cycle, is awarded upon successful completion of upper secondary education (grade 11, now grade 12). The curricula for both the theoretical and technical-vocational branches require a minimum of 96 units in course work plus 6 units in conduct/behavior. Units (credits) are through hours of classroom attendance per week. The transcripts initially indicated grades and units based on semesters. Newer transcripts reflect grades and units per year. Curricula for the theoretical areas are shown in tables 22 to 26. More information about the technical and vocational branch and the work knowledge training branch begins on page 64.



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