Edited By Soli Shahvar
2. The Bahá’í Schools and the Modernization of Education in Iran
From the end of the nineteenth century until the middle of the 1930s, in cities, towns and villages across Iran, dozens of schools were opened by the members of the Bahá’í Faith. Although these schools represented a significant contribution to the modernization of education in Iran, none of the studies on the topic of educational reform in Iran mentions a single Bahá’í school among the hundreds of schools that were established during the same period. While the studies discuss schools founded by other religious and cultural organizations, they are silent on the presence of the Bahá’í schools that existed throughout the country. Even when the names of a few are mentioned, they are not identified as Bahá’í schools.
Similarly, with respect to the wider subject of reform in Iran, few if any references to Bahá’í reformist ideas or to the Bahá’í community itself can be found in the literature, although the Bahá’ís were in effect the only sizeable community in the country that not only advocated social reform, modernization and constitutional democracy but that also practised these principles – not only by establishing modern schools as the basis for a modern society but also through the democratic methods used within its own community and its emphasis on the importance of education for girls. To understand the phenomenon of the Bahá’í schools in Iran – their establishment, development and distinctive characteristics – as well as the opposition to their existence and...
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