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GROUP 1. The right to believe, the right to learn: The BIHE as a social movement concerning minority rights in Iran

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Abstract:

Conducted under the guidance and direction of advisor and dissertation committee chair Professor Nelly Stromquist, a former CIES president and distinguished faculty member under the Department of Education Leadership, Higher Education and International Education (EDHI) at the University of Maryland, College Park, this research project is currently in the data collection phase (pending IRB application approval), and by the time the CIES 2011 conference commences, it is expected to have advanced to the later stage of data analysis/earlier dissertation-writing phase.

The inquiry is based on the case study tradition, utilizing a mixed methods research design where quantitative (surveys, questionnaires, and censuses) and qualitative data (open-ended interviews, focus groups, online participant observation, state policy documents, and secondary data) are collected and analyzed, focusing on the role of the BIHE, a higher education institution in present-day Iran. The researcher plans to include approximately 300 faculty members, 250 current BIHE students, and 500 BIHE student alumni in the study. In order to avoid endangering the safety and protection of Bahá’ís in Iran, all research will be conducted online via Web 2.0 applications utilized by the BIHE through its secured online platform. Questions addressing the positions of higher education institutions in the education of minority students are developed and explored. International human rights law (relevant to the rights of minority groups), social justice theory and critical pedagogy (complementing the gaps in international human rights law), and social movement theory will formulate an interwoven interdisciplinary theoretical framework for this inquiry.

Overall, the purpose of this study is to identify and understand how a higher education institution (BIHE) can support minority rights (Bahá’í students in Iran), particularly as it relates to a social movement. The proposed study centers on the role of the BIHE and explores how the institution (as a social movement): 1) contributes to the advancement and progress of Bahá’í students in Iran; 2) promotes social justice and human/minority rights; and 3) uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) to contribute to the overall wellbeing and security of Bahá’í students in Iran.

The case study will attempt to answer the four following research questions:

1) How does the BIHE challenge the oppression of minority students?
2) How do Bahá’í students perceive the BIHE, and what expectations do they have of the BIHE (as an institution, its faculty and staff, and services)?
3) How does a higher education institution function as a social movement?
4) How does the use/implementation of information communication technologies (ICTs) by the BIHE assist in serving minority students?

Following the 1979 revolution in Iran, the government committed several human rights violations, including various acts against the Bahá’í community, which comprises approximately 300,000 members—the largest religious minority in the state. In 1991, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council (ISRCC) established its national policy that systematically denies Bahá’í students access to all public and private higher education institutions in Iran: “They must be expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Bahá’ís” (ISRCC, 1991). The policy also demands that any Bahá’í administrators, teachers, professors and staff be barred from working at schools, colleges, and universities: “Deny them any position of influence, such as in the educational sector” (ISRCC, 1991). Thus, one of the main challenges placed before the Bahá’í community is the denied access to higher education. Although the state’s policy to keep Bahá’í students out of private and public higher education institutions was officially implemented in 1991 (prior to 1991, attempts to thwart Baha’i access to higher education was done at the local levels, by law enforcement officials, prior to any formal policy set in place), the Iranian government had been systematically denying Bahá’í students access to higher education since the late 1970s, which is why the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established in 1987. Even though the BIHE was founded in 1987, its structure metamorphosed in the late 1990s due to occurring variations within the political climate, and much of the manner in which BIHE functions is based upon its greater environment and the policies existing within such an environment. Over time, the BIHE has been able to transform itself in order to respond to the pressure and challenges of the Iranian government. Consequently, to remain “out of the reach” of Iranian officials, most of the day-to-day instruction of BIHE is done over the Internet through various Web 2.0 technology applications (i.e., Moodle, blogs, wikis, and Skype).
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
URL:
http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493898_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sattarzadeh, Sahar. "GROUP 1. The right to believe, the right to learn: The BIHE as a social movement concerning minority rights in Iran" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493898_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sattarzadeh, S. D. , 2011-05-01 "GROUP 1. The right to believe, the right to learn: The BIHE as a social movement concerning minority rights in Iran" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493898_index.html

Publication Type: CIES New Scholar Fellow Proposal
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Conducted under the guidance and direction of advisor and dissertation committee chair Professor Nelly Stromquist, a former CIES president and distinguished faculty member under the Department of Education Leadership, Higher Education and International Education (EDHI) at the University of Maryland, College Park, this research project is currently in the data collection phase (pending IRB application approval), and by the time the CIES 2011 conference commences, it is expected to have advanced to the later stage of data analysis/earlier dissertation-writing phase.

The inquiry is based on the case study tradition, utilizing a mixed methods research design where quantitative (surveys, questionnaires, and censuses) and qualitative data (open-ended interviews, focus groups, online participant observation, state policy documents, and secondary data) are collected and analyzed, focusing on the role of the BIHE, a higher education institution in present-day Iran. The researcher plans to include approximately 300 faculty members, 250 current BIHE students, and 500 BIHE student alumni in the study. In order to avoid endangering the safety and protection of Bahá’ís in Iran, all research will be conducted online via Web 2.0 applications utilized by the BIHE through its secured online platform. Questions addressing the positions of higher education institutions in the education of minority students are developed and explored. International human rights law (relevant to the rights of minority groups), social justice theory and critical pedagogy (complementing the gaps in international human rights law), and social movement theory will formulate an interwoven interdisciplinary theoretical framework for this inquiry.

Overall, the purpose of this study is to identify and understand how a higher education institution (BIHE) can support minority rights (Bahá’í students in Iran), particularly as it relates to a social movement. The proposed study centers on the role of the BIHE and explores how the institution (as a social movement): 1) contributes to the advancement and progress of Bahá’í students in Iran; 2) promotes social justice and human/minority rights; and 3) uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) to contribute to the overall wellbeing and security of Bahá’í students in Iran.

The case study will attempt to answer the four following research questions:

1) How does the BIHE challenge the oppression of minority students?
2) How do Bahá’í students perceive the BIHE, and what expectations do they have of the BIHE (as an institution, its faculty and staff, and services)?
3) How does a higher education institution function as a social movement?
4) How does the use/implementation of information communication technologies (ICTs) by the BIHE assist in serving minority students?

Following the 1979 revolution in Iran, the government committed several human rights violations, including various acts against the Bahá’í community, which comprises approximately 300,000 members—the largest religious minority in the state. In 1991, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council (ISRCC) established its national policy that systematically denies Bahá’í students access to all public and private higher education institutions in Iran: “They must be expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Bahá’ís” (ISRCC, 1991). The policy also demands that any Bahá’í administrators, teachers, professors and staff be barred from working at schools, colleges, and universities: “Deny them any position of influence, such as in the educational sector” (ISRCC, 1991). Thus, one of the main challenges placed before the Bahá’í community is the denied access to higher education. Although the state’s policy to keep Bahá’í students out of private and public higher education institutions was officially implemented in 1991 (prior to 1991, attempts to thwart Baha’i access to higher education was done at the local levels, by law enforcement officials, prior to any formal policy set in place), the Iranian government had been systematically denying Bahá’í students access to higher education since the late 1970s, which is why the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established in 1987. Even though the BIHE was founded in 1987, its structure metamorphosed in the late 1990s due to occurring variations within the political climate, and much of the manner in which BIHE functions is based upon its greater environment and the policies existing within such an environment. Over time, the BIHE has been able to transform itself in order to respond to the pressure and challenges of the Iranian government. Consequently, to remain “out of the reach” of Iranian officials, most of the day-to-day instruction of BIHE is done over the Internet through various Web 2.0 technology applications (i.e., Moodle, blogs, wikis, and Skype).


Similar Titles:
The university as a social movement organization: How higher education institutions impact minority rights in both virtual and actual worlds

A right to believe, a right to learn: The Bahá’í Institute for higher education as a movement for minority rights

Globalization of Human Rights and Minority Social Movements:


 
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