Yesterday marked World Teachers’ Day to honor teachers all around the world for their invaluable services to future generations. To mark this day, jailed Iranian teachers Esmail Abdi and Mahmoud Beheshti Langeroudi who are detained in Evin Prison wrote an open letter addressed to Iranian teachers from prison.
They wished Iranian teachers a happy World Teachers’ Day adding that “the right to independent unions, separated from the government and political parties, the right to protest and go on strike and practice freedom of speech which is the minimum rights of teachers and wage earners
Esmail Abdi is a 44-year-old high school teacher and former secretary general of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) who is currently serving his
A group of academic activists also held a gathering to bring attention to the plight of jailed
A video circulating on social media shows a female teacher holding up a sign with “Esmail Abdi must be released” written in bold letters on it.
Other protesters can be seen around her holding up images of other jailed Iranian
Reports from Iran suggest that like many other sectors of the society,
“Every year, the budget ratified for education only suffices to pay for basic expenses and the teachers’ salaries, which are already half the poverty line,” teachers’ activist Mojgan Bagheri said in an interview with the state-run Salamat News website on September 26.
“The livelihood of teachers hired by the Education Ministry is also far from decent. Teachers are struggling to earn their living and at the same time fulfill their professional obligations… In a good educational system, teachers must enjoy the most value and importance… However, this has not happened for Iranian teachers and they face a plethora of problems, particularly economic problems,” Seyed Mohammad Javad Abtahi, member of the Parliament’s Education and Research Committee added.
Teachers officially and permanently employed by the Ministry of Education earn 1.4 million tomans per month ($140) while the poverty line stands at 5 million tomans ($500). This is less than one-third of what they need to subsist. The majority of teachers, however, work on temporary contracts.
The monthly salary of contract teachers is between 300-450,000 tomans ($30-45) which
Nevertheless, it frequently happens that teachers do not receive any salary for months.
According to human rights sources, a number of teachers are currently languishing in prison for practicing their right to peaceful protests.
Amongst the prominent jailed Iranian teachers who have been targeted for their legitimate activities are Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, Esmail Abdi, Mohammad Habibi, Mohammad Sani, Hashem Khastar, Alieh Aghdamdoust, Rahman Abedini, Mohammad Taghi Fallahi, Esmail Gerami, Mokhtar Assadi, and Iraj
In a most recent case, at least six teachers were given a nine-month suspended prison sentence and a flogging sentence of 74 lashes in September 2018 for their peaceful participation in gatherings on May 10, 2018.