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On Campus: Giving a solid start to modern Islamic school

December 23, 2014

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A girl at a public school.—Syed Ali Shah/File
A girl at a public school.—Syed Ali Shah/File

EDUCATIONISTS and scholars at a two-day fourth International Conference on Islamic Education (ICIE) last week in Lahore said the time had come that education should be transformed to promote civilization and prepare learners who were true Muslims and equipped with reasoning, intellect, intelligence and understanding. They also envisaged the ideal education would produce such learners who could resist unconscious and conditioned impulses and responses and assume the control of their destiny.

The conference by the Association for Academic Quality (AFAQ), on “Vision for the Future”, which gathered educationists and scholars, from 10 Asian and European countries, discussed contents and objectives of the Islamic education.

They reached a consensus to come up with a holistic integrated curriculum centered around the clear understanding of the purpose of Islamic education, including education for human beings.

Also read: Sindh, KP oppose formation of national curriculum council

ICIE Founder Meggot Mohamad Amin, a famous Malaysian educationist, said at the conference the modern world was a global village, where people had many things in common. It was against this backdrop, he said, the ICIE wanted to give a universal Islamic education system to the world.

Participants also agreed that religious knowledge and secular knowledge were not separate entities and called for inculcating Islamic values among students by adopting interactive teaching. There should be literature for school-going children to impart them additional knowledge.

The conference participants unanimously recommended that the Islamic schools of the future be different from those being labeled as producing extremists or mediocre students.

They recommended that teachers in an Islamic school have the greater responsibility to not only promote sound academic education but also develop learner’s religious sensibility. The conference recommended the government make character building of students at schools its highest priority. It said students’ characters should be in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and not on the Western thoughts.

Other recommendations were that Islamic education produce such learners equally equipped with spiritual, moral, academic and cultural faculties. They should be kind, compassionate and tolerant individuals, who are able to bridge understanding between the people of different cultures and religions.

They said why non-Muslim students could not be encouraged to be learners in Muslim schools. “Intensive research is required to implement the Iqra formula, which is divinely ordered,” the conference recommended.

The participants called for analysing a curriculum document on character building prepared by AFAQ. It recommended that primary education be imparted in mother tongue considering the Islamic methodologies of instruction of ancient Muslim practitioners.

It also recommended that an ISO-type body be made to assess the curriculum, its implementation besides monitoring outcomes in Islamic schools. There should also be a directory of experts working for Islamic education as well as uploading of necessary material on the web.

The conference also recommended that there should be an umbrella body for the Union of Islamic Schools and an international desk for Islamic education comprising sub-offices in different countries.

AFAQ Executive Director Shahid Warsi says the implementation of Islamic schools has already started in Pakistan, which unlike seminaries, are offering balanced education.

As terror threat looms large on them, the Punjab government closed educational institutions after the attack of Taliban militants on an army-run school in Peshawar on December 16. Educationists say that the closure of schools is not the solution and the government must find out ways to continue studies in educational institutions. They say every passing day is precious for the students, who are to appear for their matriculation, intermediate and degree examinations in the coming months.

Punjab schools education department’s district officers have told schools’ heads and teachers to ensure security measures in their schools. Security measures have financial implications but the government has not released funds to schools for the measures.

The Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) has demanded the government ensure security in schools and also provide required funds to them. PTU President Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi said the school education department and district governments were only giving assurances about the provision of funds.

He demanded the chief minister, the education minister and the secretary of schools ensure the provision of funds so that security measures could be taken before the re-opening of schools.

The PTU president also demanded that the government not force teachers, particularly women teachers, to attend schools in chilly weather, when schools were closed for winter vacation.

He condemned the terrorist attack on the Peshawar army school and added that teachers were equally grieved over the death of children.

HE University of Management and Technology (UMT) has earned the first position in the design of a fuel-saving kit – a prototype model of engine that saves maximum fuel.

The experimented model was prepared by UMT student Ammar and presented at the IBA-Karachi Grand Entrepreneurial DICE-INVENT Event, 2014. More than 40 universities participated in the event whereas the screening process took more than six months. – mansoormalik173@hotmail.com

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2014