Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology said this week that students at institutions under its remit – the majority of public universities – will be denied educational and other services if they do not abide by strict rules enforcing wearing the hijab or headscarf on campus.
The announcement has been seen as the regime’s pushback against widespread flouting of the country’s compulsory hijab rules on campus.
“All universities and higher education institutions under the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology will not be obliged to offer educational, welfare and other services to the few students who do not abide by the law and regulations of the universities in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday carried by Iran’s Mizan News Agency and other outlets.
In a similar move, medical colleges, which come under the remit of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, were also ordered to bar students from educational and welfare services, an official from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education said this week.
‘Welfare services’ would include university canteens and other services, students noted.
The Ministry of Education on 2 April published guidelines for institutions calling on teachers to pay special attention to the hijab. It said teachers should use textbooks to explain the need for the hijab and female ‘chastity’.
Student groups in Iran have reported that women students in the capital Tehran and in the city of Shiraz have been summoned to the universities for mandatory counselling sessions on wearing the hijab, according to the Shiraz University notice made public by Iran’s Student Union Councils.
“Removing the hijab and not wearing proper student clothing” were described as “violations” in the notice, which also said the students concerned had not observed the compulsory dress code and “social behaviour”. It is unclear who reported the individual students to the university authorities.
The student union called the sending of these summonses by the Shiraz University administration another action to “suppress” students who are “fighting for freedom”; it described the summonses as “reprehensible and unjustifiable”.
The union also published a text message from Soore University, Tehran, sent to students on 7 March calling on them to attend ‘mandatory’ cultural workshops. The message said absence from the workshop will mean the student will not be able to appear at the end of semester exams.