“Education Under Fire”, produced by Single Arrow Productions, is a thirty minute film documenting the struggles of the Baha’i whose education opportunities are suppressed by the Iranian government. Not only are their educational opportunities nearly non-existant, they are also subject to persecution and are often denied jobs based on faith.
The Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was founded in 1987, as an underground venue for educating the Baha’i. Despite being raided and several teachers being arrested, continued bringing back the decentralized university. Eventually, homes were raided with over a dozen BIHE professors sent to prison for only wanting to spread education to their people. Many of the professors remain in prison to this day.
Those who attended the BIHE were first only able to take courses such as math and science before forming sub-majors, eventually branching off to even create a music major. For fear of being caught by the Iranian government, students and teachers did not communicate via phone or e-mail, instead having to settle for face-to-face communications. Under this practice, students could wait up to two months to receive a graded assignment.
In order to further their education, many Baha’i have come to the United States. However, their struggle does not end there. The majority of the colleges in the states do not recognize the BIHE as transferable credits. Therefore, students from Iran may be forced to take classes they have already taken at the BIHE. Professor Samuel Ootoo expressed his belief that accreditation could greatly benefit the BIHE and it’s students.