8.2 History of Education: What are your thoughts on the objectives & curriculum system of Islamic Education in Africa?

CHAPTER 8

ISLAM AND EDUCATION IN AFRICA

8a ii). Analyze Objectives and the curriculum system of Islamic Education in Africa

Objectives and Curriculum

The Islamic education system places less importance on examinations and certificates compared to western formal education. In general, it places more importance or expressive and normative than instrumental goals. The essence of this education is moral and character training, although it places considerable emphasis on physical, mental, scientific and practical aspects. Each lesson emphasizes moral aspects.

Islamic education also focuses on secular issues and material aspects of life. Subjects such as sciences, literature, and arts are studied to sustain livelihood and acquire truth to enhance moral uprightness. Through the study of vocational and industrial subjects, the individual is enabled to earn a livelihood. After the initial study of the  Koran  and Arabic language, every child pursues vocational preparation until he masters a profession, art or trade in order to earn a living and lead an honorable and dignified life, morally, spiritually and materially. This way, the material aspects of education enrich the moral/spiritual objectives.

However, the Koranic school curriculum in Africa has been seen to have a strong religious bias, thereby diminishing emphasis on secular aspects of education. Koranic schools focus on memorizing the 60 parts (Jesus) of the Koran. This can take up to five years and is divided into five stages, with a ceremony marking the completion of each. Memorizing of the Koran goes hand in hand with the learning of Arabic alphabet, the vowel sounds, and writing.

Note: Islamic education has been criticized in regard to the following:

  • Neglect of Arabic grammar, poetry, and composition, and students not understanding the meaning of the words they
  • Harsh discipline, contrary to Islamic educational
  • Neglect of women’s education, contrary to the Koran, which Muslim scholars cite to emphasize the right of women to

Question:  What is the justification of the above criticisms leveled against Islamic education?

Activity:     Discuss how secular education complements religious/moral education in Islam

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