National Geographic : 1968 Mar
new status in Iran is the fact that shortly be fore the coronation Empress Farah was named Regent for Crown Prince Reza. Should any thing happen to His Majesty, the Empress would rule Iran until the Crown Prince was old enough to assume the throne. Side by side with the emancipation of women came an all-out attack on illiteracy. In 1962 the Shah estimated that 80 percent of his people could neither read nor write. It was, he felt, a national disgrace in a nation which had traditionally prized learning so highly that the Prophet Mohammed had once exclaimed: "If knowledge were to be found only in heaven, the Persians would still strive to attain it." To help them attain it this side of paradise, the Shah in 1962 created a Literacy Corps. Young men who graduate from secondary school have the option, when they reach the military conscription age of 21, of serving in the corps rather than the army. Those who enlist are given four months' training and then are transferred to the Min istry of Education, which sends them to vil lages preferably near their own homes. There they teach for 20 months and then are eligible for discharge. Significantly, in the more than four years of the corps' existence, 30 per cent of discharged corpsmen have volun teered to continue teaching. When the corps began its work, Iran had 17,000 rural schools with some 675,000 pupils. Today more than 1,320,000 students are studying at 22,000 rural schools. By 1969, the Shah has predicted, 50 percent of his people will be able to read and write. Industry, too, has benefited from the white revolution. Primed by $605,000,000 in U. S. aid since 1952, new dams have increased the supply of electrical power, scores of light industrial plants have been established, and the foundations have been laid for a petrochemical industry to utilize waste products from Iran's oil fields. So successful has this U. S. aid program been that in November of 1967 it was ter minated by mutual agreement. Splendor Sets an Imperial Stage True it is that the Shah waited a long time for his coronation, but when it hap pened it was certainly worth waiting for: a dazzling ceremony of Byzantine splen dor, played out with the precision of a military exercise and the grace of a ballet. 312 CHROMEBY WINFIELDPARKS( N.G.S .