The Bahá'í Institute For Higher Education (BIHE) is an educational network founded in 1987 by the Iranian Bahá'í community after Bahá'í youth were banned by the state from accessing higher education. Unlike other minorities, the Bahai community is not recognised as a religion in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The discrimination by Iranian universities is based on this political understanding of the Iranian government. To counteract the discrimination, the community founded the BIHE at the end of the 1980s. The BIHE is a separate institute for higher education that offers bachelor's degrees in dentistry, computer science, law, accounting and other subjects through correspondence courses and classes in private homes.
The BIHE fights for religious freedom, liberty and the right to education and provides a creative and non-violent response to the Iranian government's ongoing efforts to deny Bahá'ís a higher education.
The main faculty is located in Iran. It is connected to a global faculty of volunteer professors and universities around the world and functions as a decentralised and fluid structure that uses a hybrid approach of offline and online delivery methods. Despite difficult circumstances, BIHE has been able to grow in this way. Initially, teaching took place by letter, later with the help of email and the internet. Because it would be too dangerous, the students do not know the names of their professors. Time and again there are arrests.
Human rights supporters have issued a poster depicting some of those staff of the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education who have been arrested in Iran. They were offering education to young community members barred by the government from attending university. 2011. Photo: Bahá’í World News Service