Iran Politics

Kurdish Language Studies Allowed by Iran Constitution

kurdish language

The University of Kurdistan in Sanandaj, Iran has announced a new Kurdish Language Studies and Literature program, which will start this fall. This announcement comes after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly endorsed Article 15 of the Iranian Constitution, which allows local languages to be taught in school.

Wait, Kurdish is spoken in Iran?

Kurdish language is very closely tied to Persian (also known as Farsi). Both languages stem from the Indo-European language group, while languages like Arabic and Hebrew stem from the Semitic language group.

There are two major branches of the Kurdish language: Kurmanji and Sorani. Kurmanji is spoken more commonly in the north and western areas of the Kurdish region, while Sorani is more commonly spoken in the south and eastern parts of the Kurdish region.

Sorani and Kurmanji are very different languages, and for many years were not accepted in Iran. Recently, both high school and collegiate students were given the choice to study Kurdish language as an elective.

Wait, there’s a Kurdish University in Iran?

The University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj traces its roots back to 1974, when it began as the “Supreme Training College of Sanandaj.”

Today, the University of Kurdistan is the largest university in the Iranian province of Kordestan, and is home to 41 departments spanning disciplines including Agriculture, Art and Architecture, Engineering, Literature, and Social Sciences.

The new Kurdish Language and Literature coursework will be part of the Department of Kurdish Language and Literature.

Kurdish Language Allowed By Iranian Constitution

According to the Iranian Constitution, Article 15, Kurdish and other spoken languages in the country are allowed to be used as languages of study. According to a local Kurdish language teacher, the constitution actually encourages “entire curriculums [to be] taught in Kurdish, and not just one subject.”

As part of his election campaign last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised that he would fulfill Article 15 of the constitution. After pressure from Iran’s large Kurdish population (an estimated 10 million), Rouhani fulfilled his promise, and the University of Kurdistan began to prepare its Kurdish coursework.

For more information on the program, you can contact Dr. Bakhtiar Sadjadi at [email protected]

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