Feb 08, 2018

Ahwazi: Two Journalists Summoned to Court for Criticising Scant Education System in the Region

Na'im Hamidi and Sayed Nishan al-Abushkha are accused of “spreading lies and misleading the public opinion’’ by the Director of the Department of Education for denouncing the poor conditions of schools in Al-Ahwaz region ‘’Khuzestan Province’’. In the absence of suitable schools, classes are currently being taught in ‘’kaneks’’, which are mere metal containers not suitable for the weather conditions of the region. They also pointed out the high rates of failure in the region and the discrimination against Arab-speaking pupils.

The article below was published by Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation

Ahwaz court summoned journalists Na'im Hamidi and Sayed Nishan al-Abushkha following their criticism of the weak performance of the Department of Education in Ahwaz region (Khuzestan province).

According to local media in Ahwaz, these journalists have criticised the catastrophic conditions of schools, high rates of failure, employment of teachers emigrated from other provinces at the expense of unemployment in the region. In addition, they condemned discriminator masseurs imposed on Arab educators.

Director of the Department of Education in Ahwaz region (Khuzestan) Mohammad Taqi Zadeh, filed a complaint against Hamidi and Albushuka, accusing them of “spreading lies and misleading the public opinion’’.

Naim Hamidi, director of the website "Asr Ma (our era)," and Mr. Nishan Albushukka journalist and satirist have criticised Department of education for the employment of more than 3,200 from outside of the province under temporary contracts.

The director of Department of Education of the province, Mohammad Taqizadeh, is the 11th director who replaced Rahman Falahi, the former director of the education. Since he took the position in December 2013, situation of education in Ahwaz has declined and currently holds the 31st place on the national level. In addition, comparing to last year there has been an increase of 650,000 in the number of illiterates.

The so-called phenomenon of “Kaneks Schools” appeared in the period of his administration in the province. These schools that are simply metal containers with a door are used as a substitute in the absence of a school building, however not suitable for the hot weather condition in Southern and cold areas in the northern provinces.

At the beginning of the current academic year, due to the lack of commitment by the Education Department to secure schools, the residents of the village of Masoudi in the city of Darkhoveyn with the help from charity bought a kaneks and is currently being used as a school.

According to Taqizadeh himself, there are more than 600 metal kanekses used as schools in the province, while local media reports indicate that there are several abandoned school buildings that are neglect by the Department of Education.

In this context, Abdul Rahim Tabashi, Advisor to the Governor of Ahwaz in the free zone of Muhammarah and Abadan, held Takizadeh the full responsibility for the failures and shortcomings of education in the province.

The discriminatory measures of Takizadeh are not limited to construction and employment, but also manifest itself in his personal stands.

When the pupils of an elementary school were penalised by their teacher for speaking Arabic in the class despite the widespread protests from the families and civil society activists Taizadeh has defended the teacher’s decision. He also did not express any protest on the subject of turning a deserted school building into a police station months earlier.

Ahwazi Human Rights Organization condemns the summoning of journalists Naim Hamidi and Sayed Nishan Albushukha to the court, denouncing the policy of threatening and muzzling journalists and civil society activists in Ahwaz and demanding respect for the freedom of opinion and the voices of those who combat racism and work for the advancement and corrections in education.

Photo Courtesy of Ahwaz Humain Rights Organisation