A Chicago based Foundation has launched an ambitious Digitization programme to reach electronic readers worldwide.
By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj
Bangalore: The Iqra International Educational Foundation based in Chicago will soon be launching its Islamic curriculum in digital format. This was stated here by its chairman Dr. Abidullah al-Ansari Ghazi who has framed the Islamic education into the format of a school curriculum for adoption worldwide. The books in English medium have been adopted at several schools and are being translated into several other languages in various countries.
Dr. Ghazi who holds a Harvard doctorate, had been working with his wife Dr. Tasnima Ghazi since 1982 in Chicago and has authored around 350 books for teaching of Islamic doctrine (aqeedah), Quran, Jurisprudence(Fiqh), etiquettes and culture (tahzeeb) to school children with age-specific vocabulary and content from zero to 10th standard level.
He told Islamic Voice that the entire corpus of curricular books are now being digitized in order that they could be downloaded by internet users anywhere in the world for implementation of the curriculum at their end.
Briefing this scribe, he said the dawn of the digital age had made it imperative that curriculum is prepared for the electronic age which is fast replacing paper-based reading material. He said the digitization is a one time investment and does away with the expense of printing, publishing, distribution and accounting expenses at one go. The digital files could be easily removed, edited, and re-uploaded at a fraction of the cost or no cost. It will be downloadable through various devices at the same time and will dissolve distances and national boundaries.
The Iqra Foundation has commissioned Bangalore firm Impelsys India Pvt. Ltd., for digitization of the programme. It will turn the entire syllabi, textbooks, workbooks, teachers’ manuals and parental guidance and administrative manuals in to digital format. Some of the sample works are already available for access http://ebooks.iqra.org
Dr. Ghazi said Iqra Foundation is a small waqf organization and was committed to make the entire literature prepared by it on devices such as iPad, Kindle, Nooks, iTunes etc through establishment of a Digital Resource Centre. He said this Centre would enable
people to download its books at a fraction of the cost of printed books.
In 1999, the Iqra was granted a contract by Majlis Islam Ugama Singapura, a government statutory body, to systematize its Madrasah education programme and develop a comprehensive Madrasah educational system for a modern pluralistic society.
Dr. Ghazi said the Iqra’s annual budget was to the tune of $1.25 million. The digitization programme will have financial outlay of $ 1.2 million. He pointed out that major Gulf nations have not shown much interest in the Iqra programme while the market was growing in multi-cultural countries of North America, the Indian subcontinent and the South East Asia.
Dr. Ghazi said the market survey suggests that there were 50 million electronic readers worldwide currently and his Foundation plans to have 60 per cent of the Islamic educational electronic reader software market by January 2015.
More information could be had at: Iqra Book Educational Foundation’s website: www.iqrafoundation.com, www.iqra.org. The Foundation is based at : 7450, Skokie Blvd. Skokie, IL, USA, Ph: 487 673-4072