May 9, 2010

Educating the Women of Persia – by Dr. Genevieve L Coy, Director of Girls Tarbiat School in Tihran, 1926

"A teacher is like unto a gardener. Just as a gardener sows the seeds and watches over their sprouting, looks after their growth and development, so also a teacher must watch over the education of the children and inculcate in their young lives the highest ideals of truth and justice." -‘Abdu'l-Baha.

Twenty years ago [as of 1926] there were no schools for girls in Tihran. Daughters of affluent parents were occasionally taught by tutors, but as a rule a woman was supposed to have no acquaintance with the learning that came from books. With the slow development of progressive ideas this situation has been markedly changed, and Tihran now contains both public and private schools for girls.

The Girls' Tarbiyat School, sponsored and financed by the Baha'is of Tihran, was the second school for girls opened in the city. During the nine years of Miss Lillian Kappes' work as director, the school came successfully through many difficulties, and is now one of the largest and best of the girls' schools. Three years ago a reactionary Minister of Education said to the principal of another school: "The Tarbiyat School is the best school for girls in Tihran. Alas that they are Baha'is!”

In spite of the handicap of a limited curriculum, the importance of the Tarbiyat School in the lives of her pupils can scarcely be overestimated. We will consider first some of the direct contributions made by the subjects in the course of study.