The Forgotten Schools: The Baha'is and Modern Education in by Soli Shahvar

By Soli Shahvar

Via the top of the 19th century, it turned obvious to Iran's ruling Qajar elite that the state’s contribution to the advertising of recent schooling within the nation was once not able to satisfy the growing to be expectancies set by way of Iranian society. Muzaffar al-Din Shah sought to therapy this case by means of allowing the access of the personal area into the sector of contemporary schooling and in 1899 the 1st Baha’i institution used to be proven in Tehran. by way of the Thirties there have been dozens of Baha’i colleges. Their excessive criteria of schooling drew many non-Baha’i scholars, from all sections of society. the following Soli Shahvar assesses those "forgotten colleges" and investigates why they proved so renowned not just with Baha’is, yet Zoroastrians, Jews and particularly Muslims. Shahvar explains why they have been closed via the reformist Reza Shah within the overdue Nineteen Thirties and the next fragility of the Baha’is place in Iran.

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Extra resources for The Forgotten Schools: The Baha'is and Modern Education in Iran, 1899-1934 (International Library of Iranian Studies)

Sample text

However, within the very traditional Iranian society it became a separate issue only at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Constitutional movement was reaching its peak, and even then it was not because of feminist ideas. ’74 Thus, the importance of education in the reformist thought of Iranian intellectuals (such as those mentioned above and many others), went far beyond what had initially been perceived simply as the means to promote Iranian military power and strength. , INTRODUCTION 15 all depended, more or less, on education.

It is quite difficult to measure which of these two – the Baha’i or the non-Baha’i reformist thought – had greater impact in Iran; but it would be quite reasonable to state, at the very least, that the reformist ideas of the Baha’i faith played some role in the propagation of reform and modernization in Iran. , which are fundamental to the Baha’i teachings. The various groups in Iranian society reacted differently to the pressures for reform and to the issue of the collision between tradition and modernity that reverberated through, and was felt by, all levels and sectors.

But suitable foundations had to be prepared in order to be able to implement the necessary changes, absorb them and make them durable. In practical terms, new educational frameworks needed to be established, in which cadres were to be educated in the modern disciplines. This meant modern education and modern schools, both of which played a central role in the reform movement and the Baha’i faith. Iranian secular intellectuals and the leaders of the Baha’i faith both saw education as one of the basic pillars for progress, but they differed mainly on the relation between education and religion.

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