Entire Iran School Year May Be Lost Amid Rising Protests

Entrance exams usually held in June for 80 universities and 28 medical schools have been delayed.

Will an entire Iranian academic year be lost to the contested presidential election?

As the school year nears its end, 12th graders in Iran are at the peak of preparations for university entrance exams.

Nearly 1.5 million students will take the exams, but only 10 percent will be admitted to university.

Not all students who pass the exams, which are held over three days and require answers to hundreds of questions, will be able to study in the faculty of their choice. A special computer program provides the candidates with possible curricula in the universities available, in accordance with their test scores and place of residence in the Islamic Republic.

The entrance exams to the 80 public universities and 28 medical schools are held in June, and last week the educational authorities delayed them until July, assuming that by then the demonstrations will be over and a political solution will be found to the dispute between the regime and opposition.

To a certain extent this makes things easier for several hundred thousand students who are participating in the demonstrations. But according to one student who aired his views on his blog, "I do not plan to ruin my future because of the demonstrations. A few more days [of demonstrating] and I am going back to my desk and the books."

'They only care about missing exams'

A commentator wrote on one of the Web sites supporting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that "most of the students who are demonstrating only want to be relieved of the [university entrance exams]. They do not care about who rules Iran."

Some of the university students are also becoming worried that their studies for the upcoming academic year will be disrupted. At Azad University, a private institution established by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1982, the students refused to take their exams and the administration agreed to postpone them until next month.

Azad had been one of the issues on which Ahmadinejad attacked former president Rafsanjani, a political rival.

The current president asked "where does the money that the university receives from students go?" He was hinting that Rafsanjani is corrupt and benefits from tuition payments.