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Iran's Poorly Paid Teachers on Nationwide Strike for Second Day

By Michael Lipin

Iranian teachers have gone on a nationwide strike for a second consecutive day to demand better working conditions for their poorly paid profession, one month after their last mass protest.

Photos posted on the Telegram channel of the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI) showed elementary and high school teachers staging sit-ins and holding protest signs in and outside their offices in at least 27 Iranian cities Wednesday.

Take Action: 263 Million Children Need Help Getting In The Classroom

In a statement published on Telegram, CCTSI said it was staging its “second round” of strikes since October to pressure the government to carry out educational reforms and end mismanagement. It said teachers also were protesting low wages and perceived violations of the educational rights of students and minorities.

Iranian social media users earlier had posted photos of what they said were teachers on strike in at least a dozen cities Tuesday. Images of the previous round of Iranian teacher strikes in mid-October also were shared widely on Persian-language social media platforms.

Most of Wednesday’s striking teacher photos on the CCTSI Telegram feed were identified as coming from schools in northwestern Iran’s predominantly Kurdish regions. The locations included the cities of Saqqez, Marivan, Sanandaj and Divandarreh in Kurdistan province, and the cities of Kermanshah, Eslamabad-e-Gharb, and Sarpol Zahab in Kermanshah province.

CCTSI also posted photos of what it said were striking teachers in the capital, Tehran, and the cities of Eslamshahr and Baharestan in Tehran province. Other northern Iranian cities identified in the group’s photo stream included Sari, Babel, Ghaem Shahr and Juybar in Mazandaran province and Mashhad, Qazvin, Mahabad, and Jolfa.

Read More: 10 Barriers to Education Around the World

Several central Iranian cities appeared among the captions for the striking teacher photos, including Isfahan and Khomeinishahr in Isfahan province and Hamadan, Karaj and Yazd. Southern cities identified in the picture descriptions included Ahvaz and Bushehr and the Fars provincial cities of Shiraz and Kazerun.

CCTSI, the umbrella organization for Iranian teachers’ unions, said its strike actions were legal and not associated with any domestic or foreign political faction.

In a September report, Iran’s Human Rights Activist News Agency said Iranian authorities had tightened their grip on labor unions in recent years and had shown a “particular vitriol” toward those representing educators. Three prominent Iranian education activists serving multiyear jails terms for alleged national security offenses at Tehran’s Evin prison include Mohammad Habibi, Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi, and Esmail Abdi.

This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Shahed Alavi of VOA’s Kurdish Service contributed.