Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SAFAR
- RABI-UL-AWWAL 
1425 H
APRIL
2004
Volume 17-0
4 No : 208
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Debate


Cross Fire

Cross Fire

There has been a sudden spurt of Islamic schools all over the country. While some set up these schools with funds donated by the community, some have a good backing from Muslims abroad. But there has been one common trend. All these schools are aiming to come up to the level of International schools. Some have succeeded, some have not.

Mumbai has four English Islamic schools. The parents have started debating about the benefits of Islamic schools vis a vis Secular schools. Our Special Correspondent, M. Hanif Lakdawala spoke to Shehnaz Shaikh, founder and Principal of the Al-Mu'minah School and Najma Kazi, Principal Anjuman -I- Islam's Saif Tyabji Girls' High School to elicit their views on this.

"Islamic Schools Provide the Environment"

Shehnaz Shaikh, Founder and Principal of Al-Mu'minah School

Unlike secular schools, Islamic curriculum and Arabic is taught right from the nursery at an Islamic School. Moreover,_expression of Islamic culture is possible in Islamic schools. What hurt me most was that like me, even my daughter was not allowed to put mehendi on the hands, which is part of the Indian culture. When my daughter was asked to break the fast before time, in the month of Ramadan-as most of the Convents does not allow their students to fast, I said enough is enough and decided to start a school which incorporates Islamic teachings and culture with the secular education.

The foundation of the Islamic schools is based on the firm belief that Islamic education has to be combined with academic education for the child to be truly successful. Itís mission is to help a radically different generation of Muslims: English-speaking, academically on par with the best, and thoroughly Islamic in conduct.

I believe environment plays an important role in the upbringing of children. Children spend almost half of their wakeful hours in school. Islamic schools provide the environment, which is in tune with the teachings of Islam, and impart them the moral values, which is in sync with the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (Pbuh).

An Islamic school lessens not only the children's burden by providing religious and secular education at one window, but also their parents' burden by teaching the children how to live like good Muslims. This includes treating everyone as part of the same human family. Our aim is not only to build a good Muslim student, but a good Indian student.

At Al-Mu'minah School, the Islamic syllabus includes the study of the Qur'an and Ahadeeth, memorisation of the Qu'ran (selected surahs for all children and the entire Qur'an for selected children), learning Arabic as a compulsory language, seerah of the Prophet (Pbuh), Islamic akhlaq and aadab (character and manners).

By the end of the year, nursery children know several Arabic words, surahs and duas with English translation. While learning Islamic subjects, students also study the regular subjects according to the government prescribed syllabus.

Students in Islamic schools are free to express Islamic attitudes and behaviour, proudly and openly. Uniforms for students is as per the Islamic guidelines and even provision for congregational prayers in the school are also made.

"The Laboratory-like Conditions in Islamic Schools is Not Needed"

Najma Kazi, Principal Anjuman- I- Islam's Saif Tyabji Girls' High School

No one is stopping Muslim students from expressing Islamic culture in secular schools managed by Muslims. All the secular schools managed by Anjuman Islam have provision for Muslim students to express their culture and quite a few teach Urdu language and Islamic morals.

One of the major issues before the teachers is to prepare a child to lead a normal life in a plural country like India. Being a socio-cultural diversity and multi-religion society, the teachers must inculcate the values of respecting other religions and culture amongst the students. It's in their hands to remove biases and prejudices from the child's mind.

What is needed is to inject self-confidence in students. We train our teachers and guide them to coach students to first discover their hidden potential and then start believing in their abilities. Thus, most of our students not only excel in their studies, but are achievers in the extra-curricular activities and take active interest in Islamic learning.

What has been taught in Islamic schools can be taught in the secular schools and in our schools, we do it. Using the most limited resources, to change a human being born in a deprived class, into a conscious citizen of the country is not difficult. What is needed is focus on the overall development of the child. I have convinced the Management to provide a full time professional counselor who interacts with the students and takes care of any psychological problems. Another area we need to focus is sports. Instead of burdening the students with theology, focus must be on developing the aptitude for sports and providing them the centres for sports. Our school is one, which provides Martial Art Training with women instructors. What is needed is to develop a strong aptitude training programme and planning of career for the students. The need of the hour is to provide to students with aptitude training facilities and career planning guidance. Most of the times, it is the peer pressure and mark sheet that guide the destiny of the student .My priority is not starting education courses, but guiding them about the proper courses as per their talent.

Besides academic excellence, we also emphasise on value education. "The image of the community has to be taken care of from the school days. What better way than to teach children the values and make them good human beings. The laboratory like conditions in Islamic schools is not needed to make Muslim students a good Muslim and a good human being.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters to the Editor Exclusive Making Difference Open House Trends Debate People Track Community Development Men, Missions and Machines Children's Corner Just for the Young Muslim Perspectives Quran Speaks to You Hadith Reflections Question Hour - Dr. Zakir Naik Religion Quran and Science Guidelines Women in Islam Muslims and Cyberspace Back to the Past Harmony Journey to Islam Job Hunt Matrimonial
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