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The Majles debates

On 13 March 1934 Hekmat, in his capacity as minister of education, presented the committee’s revised draft to the Majles. He praised the fortunate era which had already answered so many of their wishes. Now the time had come to grace it with a university. Having obtained the permission and backing of the shah he asked the deputies to consent to this “blessed idea” (fekr-e moqaddas) so that the Ministry of Education could arrange as soon as possible for the necessary preparations.25

Exactly two months later, on 13 May 1934, the first reading of the draft took place. Most of the speakers praised the government, above all the prime minister and the minister of education, and agreed in principle with the founding of a university. Only one serious argument against the establishment of a university was brought forward: Iran was still not adequately endowed with institutions of primary and secondary education and since the Ministry of Education had not enough money to advance both projects simultaneously, the foundation of a university should be postponed. Interestingly enough, nobody was troubled by the incompatibility of primary, secondary, and higher education itself, only the financial aspect was taken into account. After the general discussion of the draft, its 21 articles were read and discussed in parts.26

The second reading of the draft took place three sessions later, on 29 May 1934. The minutes of this session comprise 14 machine-typed, double-columned pages. The deputies were eager to express their opinions, but despite the fact that the articles were discussed controversially and passionately, all of them - with the exception of one minor linguistic modification - were approved in their original form and at the end the bill was passed with 88 out of 94 votes. The first article of the law authorized the minister of education to establish an institution of higher education in the fields of science, engineering, literature, and philosophy by the name of university (daneshgah) in Tehran. The following articles laid out rules for the organization of the university in six faculties, its administration by a rector, a senate, and faculty councils, its autonomy and budget, as well as the ranks, the conditions of employment, and the salaries of the teaching staff.27

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