The following are statements made by graduates from the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education about the value of the service that was offered to them in the face of their being barred from attending university in Iran.
HS: I joined the BIHE to study Civil Engineering in 1992, after I had been denied entry to universities because of my religious beliefs. Though we would receive no diploma at graduation and would have no chance of being hired by governmental organisations, a love of learning and the necessity of education for each individual made me wish to try to improve the level of my education. The lack of educational facilities such as lectures, regular access to instructors, library and so on made studies difficult; but the love, sacrifice and devotion of our teaching staff, who worked hard, without material rewards, to raise the level of science education of our youth, created a motivation in me to compete with those who had ideal university facilities.
FN: When I joined the BIHE civil engineering programme in 1992…BIHE was just a movement among a few hundred students and a few tens of dedicated individuals, who arose to use their knowledge to teach others.
For me, as a candidate in the Iranian team for the International Mathematics Contest, who was supposed to be able to enter any programme at any university without writing the entrance exam, but had been denied post secondary education, BIHE was a challenge. A challenge to prove to politicians that it is impossible to block a live community from growing, that although they might shut one door, God would open others. This was shown when I was admitted to the Master’s programme at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 2000.
SM: The strong background that I acquired in BIHE tremendously helped me during my graduate studies and research…The continuous commitment and high spirit of the professors, staff and the students of BIHE has been and always will be a driving force for me to strive towards excellence in every aspect of my personal and professional life.
RR: People say, ‘Did you graduate from an underground university?’ This is the common question that I frequently get asked. Studying at the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education in the face of a state that forbids the education of Baha’is in Iran was a challenging experience for me to say the least.
But my determination to continue my tertiary education was inspired by the dedicated and tireless effort of Baha’i academics and the sacrifice they made to maintain the programme. Despite all odds, they offered their knowledge and skills without any expectations of remuneration. There was almost no enrolment fee, except for basic postage and photocopying costs. While I was studying I was using the same textbooks as formal students of state universities used at that time in Iran.
NH: The method of studying, which was mainly based on self-study in the first years, improved my ability to search the answer of scientific problems in different sources. In the last two years of my study, I acquired precious experiences from my dear professors in the weekly classes. Being very inspiring, they were exemplars of devotion to science, and self-sacrifice in their service to BIHE…
Although the BIHE does not have a specific place as an official building, and most of the classes are held at homes or rented places, the spirit of love and cooperation among professors, students, and administrative part has made it possible for the students to overcome the difficulties and finish their studies.Return to top