Iran’s government has banned English from primary school classrooms in an attempt to fight Western influences. The country has been blaming the West for protests and demonstrations that have been stagedthroughout the country in the past months.
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has repeatedly blamed the spread of English in schools for destabilizing his country. Authorities say that teaching English at an early age makes it possible for pupils to adopt the culture of Western societies. They state that primary education is the basis of Iranian culture and should be free of Western values.
English language lessons generally start in middle schools, with students aged between 12 and 14. Recently, however, more and more primary schools have been offering English lessons. It has also spread to some of the country’s nursery schools too.
The new ban only applies to the first years of education, where all lessons will be in Persian, the country’s official language.
adopt = here: to use; take on; let something into your country
apply = here: where the ban is in effect
attempt = try to do something
authorities = government organisations that have the power to decide things
ban = forbid; not allow
blame = to say or think that you are responsible for something bad that has happened
destabilize = when a government has problems controlling events that happen there
generally = normally
government = the people who rule a country
influence = power to affect the way something changes or develops
nursery school = kindergarten; school for children between 3 and 5 or 6
official language = the language that all the people in a country speak
primary school = the first years of education; usually between 5 and 11
recently = a short time ago
repeatedly = over and over again
society = the way people live in a country
spread = when something moves from one place to another
The Saudi Arabian government has announced that the country will start allowing women to drive cars. The new law will be in effect starting in June 2018. At the moment, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not let women drive a car. The driving ban has become a symbol of oppression in the kingdom.
In the past Saudi women have had to organize drivers to take them to places in everyday life. If caught driving they risked being arrested and were sometimes even punished. Women were not even allowed to have a driving licence.
Countries around the world welcomed the step taken by Saudi king Salman ibn Abd al-Aziz. Many human rights groups have been fighting for women’s rights , including the right to drive, for years.
In the last few years, the Middle Eastern kingdom has been slowly granting women more rights in an attempt to open up to Western society. In 2015 , women, for the first time were allowed to vote and be candidates in local elections. Recently, the government announced that girls would be allowed to do sports and take part in physical education lessons in school.
Still, Saudi Arabian society is deeply conservative. Women still need a man’s permission to do certain things, including marrying or going abroad. Those who oppose the new law say that it would violate the sharia.
Saudi leaders hope that lifting the driving ban will let women take on a more more active role in the country’s booming economy.
announce = to say something officially, in public
arrest = to take a person to the police station because they have done something wrong
attempt = try
ban = to forbid something
booming = when the economy increases and businesses are very successful
deeply = very much
driving licence = document that says you have the right to drive
government = the people who rule a country
grant = give, award
human rights group = group of people who want everyone to have basic rights, like the right to vote or the right to speak freely
including = also
in effect = here: to start being a law
kingdom = country ruled by a king or queen
lift = remove
local election = when you choose a person to have an official job in a city or town
oppose = to be against something
oppression = to treat someone or a group of people in a bad way and not let them have the same rights as others
permission = to be officially allowed to do something
physical education = sports taught in school as a subject
sharia = a system of religious laws followed by Muslims