Islamic Education After Independence Education Essay

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Initially, Islamic education was taught after school hours. Starting from 1962, the Islamic religious subject was implemented and officially included in the school time table where it was taught for 120 minutes (2 hours) per week by the teachers approved by the state authority.(Education Ordinance 1957).

Rosnani (1996) is of the opinion that although these recommendations were positive, in the sense that they gave importance to religious instruction in national and national-type schools, they affected all Islamic religious adversely i.e a decline in pupil enrolment because Malay parents saw many advantages in the national schools, firstly their children could learn religion whether in national and national-type English schools. Second, greater opportunities to further studies and, greater job opportunities that awaited graduates of national schools compared to religious schools.The decline in enrolment was due also to the automatic promotion until Form Three, the abolition of the Malayan Secondary School Entrance Examination and the establishment of national secondary schools.

The second major consequence was the transformation of the the Madrasah's curriculum in accordance with the National Educational Policy where the Malay language replaced Arabic as the medium of language and the religious subject had to be reduced to accomodate new 'secular' subjects i.e Malay language, English, Mathematics, Geography, History and general Science. The third major impact of the National Education Policy was the shortage of teachers in the Madrasah because qualified teachers left for better facilities and better pay offered by National schools. Madrasahs institutions also had acute financial problems and had to be rescued by state religious department. Rosnani, (1996) further claimed that these factors, in addition to changing societal values brought about the decline of Madrasah and near demise of pondok in 1960s.

Paradigm shift

a) The Integrated Curriculum for Primary School (ICPS) and The New Secondary School Integrated curriculum (NSSIC)

It was a fact that the 70s witnessed the increase of Islamic conciousness among the Muslim throughout the Muslim World including Malaysia which subsequently contributed to educational reform. A few Islamic organizations such as ABIM, Al Arqam and Jamaat Tabligh were also formed during the 70s where their dynamic activities help to strengthen Islam in Malaysia. According to Ghazali (2000), there are many factors contributing to the Malaysian educational reform. Apart from the implementation of suggestions and report made in 1979, the changes in the political climate where people were more inclined to Islam should be considered. The influence of the Islamic movement in Iran gave a significant impact among the Muslims in Malaysia to support the Islamic party (PAS).

Then, the government under the leadership of Tun Dr. Mahathir officially introduced Islamization policy in 1983. Consequently The Islamic institutions, the International Islamic University (IIUM) and the Islamic Banking were established. The philosophy of the University was inspired by the recommendations of the first World Conference on Muslim Education held in Mecca in 1977. According to this philosophy, knowledge shall be propagated in the spirit of Tawhid leading towards the recognition of Allah as the Absolute Creator and Master of mankind. Thus all disciplines of knowledge should lead towards subservience of this truth. Knowledge is a form of trust(amanah) from Allah to man, and hence man should utilize knowledge according to Allah's will in performing his role as the servant and vicegerent (khalifah) of Allah on earth. In this way the seeking of knowledge is regarded as an act of worship (Diary IIUM, 2005)

Subsequently in 1982, The Ministry of Education, introduced The New Primary School Curriculum (NPSC). It was implemented nation wide in 1983. The NPSC was formulated to provide equal opportunity to students to acquire basic skills and knowledge in addition to inculcating noble moral values. The emphasis of this new curriculum is on the acquisition of the three basic skills,namely reading, writing and mathematics. With a renewed emphasis on integration, it was decided in 1993 that a change of name take place. The New Primary School Curriculum (NPSC) is now known as The Integrated Curriculum for Primary School (ICPS)(Curriculum Development Centre 1997).

The New Secondary School Integrated curriculum (NSSIC) or integrated Curriculum for Secondary Schools (KBSM) which was guided by the recommendation of the first World Conference on Muslim Education 1977, in Makkah was introduced in 1988 for lower secondary level and in 1989 the curriculum was implemented in phase up to form five level. (Hasan.L, 1993). The main focus of the curriculum is on an integrated educational approach. The approach incorporated knowledge with skills and moral values. It also combine theory with practical training. The strategy is to incorporate Moral Values into curriculum and the Malay language with curriculum (Curriculum Development Centre,1997).

b) The National Educational Philosophy (NEP)

The Education Act 1961 has determined Malaysia's education policies for over three decades until it was repealed in 1996. The Education Act 1996 is the latest and is the most comprehensive where it stated for the first time in writing the National Educational Philosophy (Under Act 550). The official statement of NEP states as follows :

Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in holistic and integrated manner so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on the

firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards, and who are resilient and capable of achieving a high level of personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the betterment of the family, society and the nation at large.

Langgulung, H (1993) stated that based on this NEP, the planning of KBSM is meant to help students to develop their intellectual, spiritual, emotional as well as physical potentials in comprehensive and integrated manner. It is hoped that the comprehensive and integrated development could create student who is able to adjust himself in society and contribute to the progress and the welfare of himself in order to function effectively and productively in the national development.

Southeast Asian Education particularly Islamic Religious Education in Indonesia and Malaysia

The Indonesian Experiences

After the downfall of Ottoman Empire the entire Muslim countries were completely dominated by Western Colonial countries, particularly British, French, Spanish, Dutch and so forth. Southeast Asian countries were ruled by the British and the Dutch. The British ruled Malaya and North Borneo, whilst the Dutch ruled Indonesia.

Dutch rule in Indonesia lasted for over three hundred years who used iron claws to suppress private schools that sought to establish carders to fight colonialists.

The establishment of Sekolah Tinggi Islam

Japan occupied Indonesia for three years, during which Dutch schools were totally closed down and replaced by Japanese curriculum including language of instruction. Indonesian fighters for Indonesian independence suggested that since all tertiary level of education were closed by Japanese, it is high time that Islamic higher institution of learning (Sekolah Tinggi Islam = STI) be established. The idea was suggested by Majlis Shura Muslimin Indonesia (Masyumi) along with the establishment of armed forces called Hizbullah (God's Party). The prominent personalities leading the school are :

1. Dr. Mohammad Hatta (Vice President) as chairman

2. Mr. Soewandi (Civil servant) as deputy chairman

3. Mohammad Natsir (later on became the first Prime Minister of Indonesia after independence) as secretary

4. Several other members of society such as Prof. R.A.A Hoesein Djajadingrat, Dr.Hidayat, Dr. Soekiman and many others were acting as members of executives.

The Sekolah Tinggi Islam started with four faculties i.e Law, Religion, Economics and Education. After independence, Religious faculty was sponsored by Ministry of religious affairs and became Government Institute religious of knowledge (Institute Agama Islam Negeri = IAIN) whose curriculum were planned by people graduated from Al Azhar. It is logical that the curriculum of IAIN in early days of its establishment was carbon - copy of faculties in Al Azhar before the latest reforms in 1961. The institute originally has three faculties like in Al Azhar, i.e Usuludin, Shariah and Arabic language, later they added faculty of tarbiyyah (education)

Organization like the Muhammadiyah during the Dutch rule even set schools using Dutch as a medium of instruction to compete with the schools established by the Dutch. Other organization such as Nahdatul Ulama (NU), Persatuan Islam(Persis) and Al -Irsyad continued to maintain "Pesantren" (religious training centre for Advanced Islamic Studies), "Madrasah" (Islamic schools) and "pondok"(Muslim boarding schools) which they had been managing, so much so that bumiputera (the son of the soil) children need not have to go to Dutch government schools for their education.

In the early fifties the government tried to set up schools for the training of religious teachers (Sekolah Pendidikan Guru Agama-PGA) by putting some of the exising "Madrasah" under the management of religious affairs. The objectives was to train religious teachers in government schools where religious knowledge was also taught. This was followed by the setting up of " Sekolah Guru Hakim Agama" (SGHA) to cater to the needs of the Muslim jurists both in Shariah and the State courts. The Muslim organizations and Muslim community alike were quite disappointed with the scope offered by both the PGA and SGHA.

Muslim organizations such as Muhammadiyah continued to be self reliant in the management of their schools. All they needed to do was to comply with the government regulations and current requirements. "Pesantren" too began to mushroom since the fifties. A press statement issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the later part of the seventies put the figure at 20,000 "Pesantren" with 9 million students. It is estimated that current figures have far exceeded these numbers in view of the 40% increasing of Indonesian population from 150 million in the seventies to a 220 million currently.

Rapid Development of Islamic schools

Among the factors that contributed to the rapid development of Islamic schools lately were:

1. The government inability to cater to the educational needs of all children. The problem therefore was partly resolved by the existence of private schools.

2. Dissatisfaction with the scope offered by the PGA and the SGHA in the fifties.The government, however, has been trying to improve the situation by:

i) Accepting the standard of " madrasah" so that they would be at par with public schools.

ii) Uplifting students of "madrasah" for admission into equivalent public schools at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels.

iii) Recognizing the private madrasah certificate as equivalent to the state (government) madrasah certificate to enable leavers of private madrasah to continue with their studies in equivalent government schools

iv) The influence of the Islamic revivalist phenomenon world wide, particularly the international Conferences of Muslim Education first held in Makkah 1977, Second in Islamabad 1980, Third in Dakka (Bangladesh), 1981, Fourth in Jakarta 1982, the Fifth in Cairo 1987 and Sixth in Makkah 1993 and the Seventh in South Africa 1996.

The conferences had deliberated on this religious education from elementary to tertiary level and produced guidelines for the implementation. How far Muslim countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, have responded to these guidelines and implement them in their curriculum is yet to be seen. The International Conferences of Muslim Education mentioned above should be a stepping stone toward the unified religious curricular reforms in Muslim countries for the years to come.

The Malaysian Experiences

The history of Islamic religious education in Malaysia before independence

The history of Islamic education in Malaysia dated back as early as 13th century when Islam first came to this region (Abdul Halim, 1995). Islamic education can be divided into four stages :

i. Centered around teachers' houses

ii. Centered around mosques, suraus and madrasahs

iii. Centered around religious institutions called 'pondok'. (literally , Hut school)

iv. Centered around religious institutions called 'madrasah' schools

i. Centered around teachers' houses

At the early stage it was carried out in a very informal way suitable to the environment of that time which it centered around teachers' homes (rumah-rumah guru). Students came to the teachers' (normally known as Ulama) homes to learn reading Quran and fardhu Ain (basic Islamic teaching).

ii. Centered around mosques, suraus and madrasahs

Due to the increasing number of students flocking to the teachers' homes where the later could not accommodate all of them, then came the idea of religious education to be centered around mosques, suraus and madrasahs. The teachers used to sit with their students in circles. These teachers were easily received by the society even sometimes they were called to palaces to teach the king of the state and their relatives.

iii. Centered around religious institutions called 'pondok'

Subsequently it centered around religious institutions called 'pondok'. (literally, it means hut school) Pondoks are traditional religious schools which dominated the Malay world education system in the earlier part of 14th century. i.e pre colonial and even during colonial period. The pondok institution was the first and most influential legacy in Islamic education in both Malaysia and Indonesia (called Pesantran).

The management of these pondoks differs from place/center to another place/center and there was no standard set of syllabus. However, the mode of instruction was similar to that practised in Makkah and Cairo before the advent of modern methods of teaching. Rosnani (1996) mentioned that many scholars have discussed the origin of Pondok institution in Malaysia, whether it originated from Sumatera, Indonesia or Pattani, in Southern Thailand. However, she argued that one cannot dismiss the possibility that the pondok institution was an influence of Makkah education of that era because the content and the teaching methods in pondok institutions were comparable to those in the Al Haram Mosque in Makkah and many pondok teachers had taken the pilgrimage to Makkah and deepened their knowledge of Islam. Some of the famous ulama (Tok guru) in the middle of 19th century were Tok Selehor, Tok Kenali, Tok Kemuning, Tok Ku Pulau Manis, etc.

Although there was no standardised content and no limitation in the years of study. The pondok curriculum shared some common features of the subject. All pondoks usually include the basic disciplines such as Tauhid, Al-Quran, Fiqh, Hadith, Nahu, Sarf, Tasawwuf and Akhlaq. After years of study and considered as 'alim' or knowledgeable by their 'guru' these students will come back to their respective villages to teach and some may go abroad to further their study to Makkah, Cairo, Pakistan or India.. When these students went to Al Azhar University and other Middle East countries they were taught and trained with the curriculum of that particular place of study and easily got influenced by it. Thus, when they returned to their home countries they usually joined the existing pondok or established a new one. They would planned and implemented either totally or partially the curriculum they had went through in their early days as students. Thus, it was not a surprise to find out that many pondoks or madrasahs curriculum were the 'carbon -copy' of Al- Azhar and other Middle East countries. This situation continues until now since the academic results or certificate given by these pondoks and madrasahs are not generally accepted by mainstream universities, many of these students have to continue their education in locations such as Pakistan, Egypt and other Middle East countries.

iv. Centered around religious institutions called 'madrasah' schools

At the end of 19th century especially after World War 1, with the influence of 'Islah movement' led by reformists Sayyid Jamaluddin Al Afghani (1839-1879) and Muhammad Abduh, (1849-1905), many religious 'madrasah' schools were established in many places in Malaysia as alternative to pondok school and also to compete with the secular school. The Malaysian reformists ideas came from Sheikh Tahir Jalaludin and Shiekh Ahmad Al Hadi who were very much influenced by Al-Afghani and Abduh (Al Attas,1972). With these Madrasah system, Islamic education not only focus on spiritual, fardu Ain and Tauhid but it became more comprehensive, it include other subjects in the curriculum such as Arabic language, Maths and Geograph.

Islamic Education during the British Period

Japan conquered Malaysia (1941-45) and was defeated to the British. The British then made few educational reformations starting with Barnes Report and Fern Wu Report. Briefly, the Barnes Report stated the lack of religious instruction in schools had led Malay parents sent their children to learn religion in the afternoon sessions which were very tiresome. The committee suggested 'jawi' be omitted and religious instruction be taught instead. Barnes Report also suggested only one system of primary education (national primary school) to be held. Fenn Wu Report suggested and supported 'trilingual' where Malay, Chinese and English languages should be encouraged to be the medium of instruction. As a compromise, the government passed the Education Ordinance 1952, where the promotion of national school system by gradual introduction of English into Malay Vernacular schools and Malay and English languages into Chinese and Tamil Vernacular school and also recommended the maintenance of English national type school. Interestingly, it also recommended that religious education be provided to pupils either within school premises or in suitable premises close by as part of the school lessons ( Hussein Onn,1957).

During the British period education was divided into religious and non religious education. Here has the beginning of the secular education in Malaysia. Secular schools in Malaysia were largely an innovation of British colonial government. Many of the earliest schools in Malaysia were started in the Straits Settlements of Penang, Melaka, and Singapore. The oldest school in Malaysia is the Penang Free school, founded in 1816, followed by Malacca Free School later changed to Malacca High school in 1978. While the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) was established in 1905 based on English Public School. Many of these schools still carry with them an air of prestige although there is no formal difference between these schools and other schools.

Islamic education after independence and the impact of National Educational Policy

Formal educational policies came into place after Malaya's independence in 1957. The task of the new government was to establish a national education system which, while making the Malay as the national language of the country, the languages and cultures of non- Malay communities are preserved and sustained. The most important development was the implementation of The Education Act 1961 where The Razak Report and the Rahman Talib Report became the basis for the formulation of this Act. The main features of the Razak Report are; a uniform national education and centralized examination system, A Malayan - oriented curriculum, one type of national Secondary school, English and Malay language compulsory and Bahasa Melayu as the main medium of instruction. While the main features Rahman Talib Report are : Free primary and universal education, automatic promotion to Form 3, Establishment of schools Inspectorate, Bahasa Malaysia as the main medium of instruction, Religious/moral education as basis for spiritual development, emphasis on teacher education .

In addition, the implementation of Islamic education in National Educationtal System was also based on the reports made during Razak Report (1956) and Rahman Talib Report (1960) where it is clearly stated that " in any assisted school where not less than 15 pupils profess the Muslim religion, religious instruction to them shall be provided at public expense. Instruction in other religions to other pupils may be provided so long as no additional cost falls upon public funds and provided that no child shall be required to attend classes in religious instructions without the parents' consent "

Initially, Islamic education was taught after school hours. Starting from 1962, the Islamic religious subject was implemented and officially included in the school time table where it was taught for 120 minutes (2 hours) per week by the teachers approved by the state authority.(Education Ordinance 1957).

Rosnani (1996) is of the opinion that although these recommendations were positive, in the sense that they gave importance to religious instruction in national and national-type schools, they affected all Islamic religious adversely i.e a decline in pupil enrolment because Malay parents saw many advantages in the national schools, firstly their children could learn religion whether in national and national-type English schools. Second, greater opportunities to further studies and, greater job opportunities that awaited graduates of national schools compared to religious schools.The decline in enrolment was due also to the automatic promotion until Form Three, the abolition of the Malayan Secondary School Entrance Examination and the establishment of national secondary schools.

The second major consequence was the transformation of the the Madrasah's curriculum in accordance with the National Educational Policy where the Malay language replaced Arabic as the medium of language and the religious subject had to be reduced to accomodate new 'secular' subjects i.e Malay language, English, Mathematics, Geography, History and general Science. The third major impact of the National Education Policy was the shortage of teachers in the Madrasah because qualified teachers left for better facilities and better pay offered by National schools. Madrasahs institutions also had acute financial problems and had to be rescued by state religious department. Rosnani, (1996) further claimed that these factors, in addition to changing societal values brought about the decline of Madrasah and near demise of pondok in 1960s.

Paradigm shift

a) The Integrated Curriculum for Primary School (ICPS) and The New Secondary School Integrated curriculum (NSSIC)

It was a fact that the 70s witnessed the increase of Islamic conciousness among the Muslim throughout the Muslim World including Malaysia which subsequently contributed to educational reform. A few Islamic organizations such as ABIM, Al Arqam and Jamaat Tabligh were also formed during the 70s where their dynamic activities help to strengthen Islam in Malaysia. According to Ghazali (2000), there are many factors contributing to the Malaysian educational reform. Apart from the implementation of suggestions and report made in 1979, the changes in the political climate where people were more inclined to Islam should be considered. The influence of the Islamic movement in Iran gave a significant impact among the Muslims in Malaysia to support the Islamic party (PAS).

Then, the government under the leadership of Tun Dr. Mahathir officially introduced Islamization policy in 1983. Consequently The Islamic institutions, the International Islamic University (IIUM) and the Islamic Banking were established. The philosophy of the University was inspired by the recommendations of the first World Conference on Muslim Education held in Mecca in 1977. According to this philosophy, knowledge shall be propagated in the spirit of Tawhid leading towards the recognition of Allah as the Absolute Creator and Master of mankind. Thus all disciplines of knowledge should lead towards subservience of this truth. Knowledge is a form of trust(amanah) from Allah to man, and hence man should utilize knowledge according to Allah's will in performing his role as the servant and vicegerent (khalifah) of Allah on earth. In this way the seeking of knowledge is regarded as an act of worship (Diary IIUM, 2005)

Subsequently in 1982, The Ministry of Education, introduced The New Primary School Curriculum (NPSC). It was implemented nation wide in 1983. The NPSC was formulated to provide equal opportunity to students to acquire basic skills and knowledge in addition to inculcating noble moral values. The emphasis of this new curriculum is on the acquisition of the three basic skills,namely reading, writing and mathematics. With a renewed emphasis on integration, it was decided in 1993 that a change of name take place. The New Primary School Curriculum (NPSC) is now known as The Integrated Curriculum for Primary School (ICPS)(Curriculum Development Centre 1997).

The New Secondary School Integrated curriculum (NSSIC) or integrated Curriculum for Secondary Schools (KBSM) which was guided by the recommendation of the first World Conference on Muslim Education 1977, in Makkah was introduced in 1988 for lower secondary level and in 1989 the curriculum was implemented in phase up to form five level. (Hasan.L, 1993). The main focus of the curriculum is on an integrated educational approach. The approach incorporated knowledge with skills and moral values. It also combine theory with practical training. The strategy is to incorporate Moral Values into curriculum and the Malay language with curriculum (Curriculum Development Centre,1997).

b) The National Educational Philosophy (NEP)

The Education Act 1961 has determined Malaysia's education policies for over three decades until it was repealed in 1996. The Education Act 1996 is the latest and is the most comprehensive where it stated for the first time in writing the National Educational Philosophy (Under Act 550). The official statement of NEP states as follows :

Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in holistic and integrated manner so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on the

firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards, and who are resilient and capable of achieving a high level of personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the betterment of the family, society and the nation at large.

Langgulung, H (1993) stated that based on this NEP, the planning of KBSM is meant to help students to develop their intellectual, spiritual, emotional as well as physical potentials in comprehensive and integrated manner. It is hoped that the comprehensive and integrated development could create student who is able to adjust himself in society and contribute to the progress and the welfare of himself in order to function effectively and productively in the national development.

The Islamic educational challenge faced by Malaysia since Sept 11

To ensure that the Malaysian education system responds properly to the nation building, unity and the development of the country there were many curricula reviews and tremendous changes in Malaysia education since its independence in 1957. It is a well-known fact that the Muslim education system in the Muslim world including Indonesia and Malaysia is the extension of the Western educational system which is compartmentalised and secularized. As a consequence of the Western influence and the weaknesses of the Muslims, the religious curriculum in schools and university levels in both Malaysia and Indonesia are still compartmentalised. Rosnani ( 2004 2nd edition) claimed that the curriculum practiced in Muslim countries either borrowed wholesome or partially from the West and even the subjects and methodologies presently taught in the countries are copies of the Western. Here, it is important to note the statement made by Tan Sri Murad, the President of the social committee for the study of curriculum in national schools that "the implementation of religious education at National Schools have a lot of weaknesses because there are still many students can't read Al Quran and write Jawi although they had attended six years of primary schools. (Berita Harian , 26/Feb/2003).

Although there were many surveys and writings carried out for examples by Rosnani (1996), Sahari & Langgulung (1999) and Abdul Hamid (2003) found several weaknesses of Islamic religious schools such as its curriculum, lack of facilities and financial and poor administration. However, one has to remember that SAR has contributed significantly to Islamic education in both Malaysia and Indonesia before their independence. Despite the weaknesses of Islamic religious schools, informal conversations and interviews with some Muslim parents revealed that they were still interested to enroll their children at this school due to a variety of reasons:

i) With the high cost of living, many Muslim parents are both working full time thus they have very limited time to teach their own children and expect the schools to act on their behalf

ii) Some of these Muslim parents are interested to teach their own children,

unfortunately they themselves do not know how to read the Al- Quran and either have no or very limited knowledge regarding 'fardu Ain'

iii) Some parents also opt to send their children for religious classes after school hours or Sunday schools at the mosques because they feel that religious subject at the national school is not adequate or failed to meet their expectation

iv) Many muslim parents are aware and worried about the moral decadence (social ills) in the society especially among the youth keep on increasing such as drug addicts, illegitimate child , bullying, gangsterism and etc.

Thus it was not a surprise to learn that People's Religious Schools (SAR) in Malaysia mushroomed because parents were concerned about their children Islamic knowledge while the national school curriculum seemed inadequate. According to a daily newspaper, there were 500 SARs nation wide with 126,000 students receiving Islamic education in such institutions (NST, 22 Jan 2003).

People Islamic religious schools (SAR) are schools mostly built, funded and owned by individuals or a group of people offering full time students Islamic religious education. These schools also use the curriculum which has been standardized by State religious department or Department for the advancement of Islam in Malaysia (JAKIM).These religious shools received the grant given by the government i.e RM 60 per year for a primary school student and RM120 for a secondary school student. However, in November 2002, the Malaysian government has stopped their state subsidy to SAR. The government gave two reasons for i.e that SAR lack of facilities which resulted students poor achievement and lack of trained teachers and thus urged parents to send their children to national schools (NST 9/10 Dec,2002).

Rosnani (2004 2nd edition) raised a few important questions regarding this issue such as why did the Ministry take such a drastic action rather than a more persuasive and democratic approach of consultation and deliberation? Why did it occur only after September 11 ? Was the act truly based on sincere, educational concern over the welfare of the students or was it based on political pressure from outside the country? And why do the SAR authorities, teachers and parents still regard the national schools as secular and are reluctant to enrol their children there?

This decision to terminate the financial aid to SAR has affected the religious education system adversely . It was reported by daily newspaper, Star on January 12, 2003, over 2600 SAR students moved to national schools, 1500 students in Kelantan and 1150 students in Johor have switched to national schools. However, in Perak it was reported that none of 44000 students at 10 primary schools and 37 secondary schools had responded to the call to transfer to national schools (Star 12/1/2003). While on absorbing SAR teachers, the Ministry of Education persuaded them (especially those with qualification) to apply for teaching post in national schools and promised that the government would retrain the teachers with current syllabus and curriculum (NST 22 Jan 2003).

Conclusion and suggestion

In conclusion, it can be stated that the aims of the Islamic educational system is worth of universal attention because of its contribution and role in the history of education, its universality and relevance in terms of integration of personality. Its function should be upgraded in order to prepare the balance and integrated Muslim personality. In seeking to live successfully in this challenging, modern world and at the same time having a strong relationship with Islamic principles, Muslim countries have been emphasizing a great deal on the significance of the role of education and the importance of mastering science and technology.

To remedy this problem a number of International Islamic Educational conferences have been held, the first one in Makkah (1977) on the objectives, in Islamabad (1980) on the curriculum, in Bangladesh (1981) on textbook development, in Jakarta (1982) on teaching methods and in Cairo (1987) on evaluation of Islamic education. This is an ongoing process which is at the center of attention in many parts of the Muslim World and which indicates the significant questions in the Muslim world today. We therefore, suggest the following to be considered and implemented to reach cherish goals of Islamic education for the betterment of Islamic curricular reform in Muslim countries :

i. The Muslim leaders have to recognize that the issue of Islamic curriculum in Islamic education in Muslim countries is very important because it is not just a matter of acquiring knowledge for earning a living in this world or sharpening the intellect for economic pursuits but the most important is for the perfection of soul and for the purification of personality and wisdom.

ii. In order to achieve a unified religious curriculum in Muslim countries, the planners of religious education in Muslim countries have to give a strong consideration of the guidelines produced by World Conferences on Muslim Education from Makkah to South Africa.

iii. All opportunities should be opened to children to acquire education particularly Islamic education for Muslim children and to develop their potentials in all fields of endeavor.

iv. Contents of education should be accompanied by appropriate teaching methods and meaningful to the children and relevant to their needs and their problems to Muslim world.

v. Education has to be conceptualized to create a balanced personality of the children through spiritual, emotional and physical by expressing to the varieties of developmental aspects.

vi. Preservice and inservice teacher training programmes should be given attention to ensure that the new reformed religious curricular be implemented accurately in all Islamic schools.

vii. A journal specializing on religious curricular studies be published monthly for the benefit of all who worked in the field of religious curriculum.

viii. Concerted efforts must be made to prepare curricula and published textbooks that would replace the present unsuitable/irrelevant textbooks at nearly every level of our educational system.

ix. Islamic educational Institutions need to recruit qualified scholars who have sound background in both social sciences and Islamic intellectual heritage.

x. Establish Integrated religious education curriculum for all Islamic schools at all levels starting from pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary education.

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