Every year, millions of students worldwide prepare excitedly for a new academic year – a journey that will equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to become active and productive citizens. But instead of worrying about homework, pop-up quizzes and detention, Baha’i students in Iran worry about being admitted to academic institutions in the first place.

Iranian authorities constantly deny that they discriminate against Baha’i students, citing a recent policy change that allowed students to enrol in universities for the first time in almost 3 decades. Although students were no longer forced to declare their religious affiliation when applying for the national university entrance examination, a memo revealed last year exposed their hypocrisy. The memo, sent from Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, instructed all institutions to expel any student discovered to be a Baha’i.

Over the past two years a new tactic was employed: namely, denying Baha’i students admission by alleging their files are incomplete. Last year, almost 800 (of over 1,000) students had their dreams shattered this way. But this year, when trying to login to the national university examination website, Baha’i students were redirected to: http://82.99.202.139/karsarasari/87/index.php?msg=error_bah

Whether the Iranian authorities were caught in the folly of their ways, or “error_bah” was intentional  is a tough call. But should the authorities want to upgrade their message for the next academic year, we have a fitting suggestion:

We have a handy response for them to use, should they run out of excuses: “How can we be accused of denying Baha’is access to education when we do not recognize their existence? The accusations are baseless!”