You gotta give it to us Lebanese, we sure are languages aficionados. Of course, most of us are not born as such but are spoon-fed three languages over the course of a thirteen year education system before we head out to higher education centers. But, as the saying goes, throw us in any country around the world and we’ll land standing.
Add Iran to one of those countries.
Some schools in Beirut’s Southern Suburb are now teaching Farsi, Iran’s main language, as curriculum requirement. Students would then get to choose between French and English as their third language, according to the previously linked source, because – as we all know – French and English have no commonplace in today’s world, being imperialistic languages and all.
The schools in question are all private schools and as such can teach whatever language they want, according to Lebanese law. Public schools, on the other hand, have not had the same curriculum change.
I get that political ties exist between the country where Farsi reigns supreme and the people running the schools that have adopted such curriculums. I get that those political ties are crucial for the well-being of the parties running those schools. I get that those parties sure love Iran, their culture and believe it should be imported over here – but at the expense of the educational well-being of all students attending those schools?
How does it make sense to teach students a language spoken only in one country, a language that doesn’t have any international reach whatsoever? What benefits does teaching Farsi bring to the students who will be forced to learn it? I can only think of them understanding that Farsi MBC channel. How does it make sense to give such a language importance over others than can simply make or break a person in today’s world? Teaching Farsi doesn’t count as “resistance.”
If those schools are so hell-bent on teaching Farsi, let them make it as the third optional language for their students instead of the other more crucial languages they relegated to that level. That way, they’d fulfill the apparent needs of their political ties by giving that culture more importance and still preserving the fundamental right of those students to get the best education that they can get. Our economy and their upcoming jobs are not contingent upon Iran.
Would I have had the same reaction had some schools opted for teaching German, Italian or Spanish as a required second language? Probably not, because this isn’t against Iran and their culture as much as it is keeping intact that last good thing that we - as Lebanese – have: our global competitiveness. Those languages can help it. Farsi does not.
Khosh amadid to you.