Yousef Nouri told a meeting of top managers at the education ministry on Monday that 300,000 immigrant students have piled upon the over 560,000 migrants and asylum seekers in Iranian education centers, without mentioning their nationalities.
Iran has been hosting almost 4 million immigrants from neighboring Afghanistan who have fled the decades-old vicious circle of foreign-led wars, domestic violence, and poverty.
Iran has been facing a new influx of refugees from Afghanistan since the Taliban wrested control of the country after the US-led troops’ hasty withdrawal in August last year.
The Iranian education minister said Iran is about to start this year’s school year on September 22 with 16 million students, compared to 12 million in 2012, which puts a massive burden on the country’s squeezed budget, reeling from harsh US-led sanctions over its nuclear standoff with the West.
The Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ordered that all Afghan children in Iran be permitted free schooling regardless of their residency status.
The move has improved the living conditions for hundreds of thousands of Afghan children in Iran.