In my earlier piece on our malfunctioning informal Islamic school system, I safely concluded that fingers are best pointed at the Muslim community as a whole on the problems facing this local learning centres. Reactions of the readers suggest that many share my opinion and thus, we ask; what are the solutions to these problems?
I decided to air my thoughts on some strategies which I feel could help in putting the local Islamic schooling system to shape, and here they are;
There definitely need to be a rise in value of the system, and the work revolves around person attitude, motivation and reinforcement. The myopic attitude of parents to the gains of the madaris saddens but could be corrected by orientation and reinforcement. Parents should be admonished about the virtues of the knowledge and viable perimeters should be put in place to attract their patronage.
Competitions of glorious standard should be adopted, academic (secular and Islamic) scholarship should be awarded to students who excel in their studies by the many Muslim elites’ circles in the community. This is a simple theory of motivation and reinforcement. And if the knowledge is valued, parents will love to pay its prices.
Simply said but the point may not be feasible when devoid of next two points.
- Education and Orientation
The things we see and those that makes news will definitely make us suggest say that many teachers of in our local Islamic schools need serious orientation as to how to cope with the otherwise stressful teaching. Even though establishment of regulatory body for ile kewu teachers may not come soon, the Muslim authorities should help in organizing workshops and campaign to tackle the ills in the system.
Training and campaigns should feature didactic principles, mentoring, and management among others on the long list of things that seem lacking. Similar orientation should be extended to parents through the media and mimbar (pulpit).
- Investing in it;
Undoubtedly the fisabiLlah (for Allah’s sake) mentality has ruined our ile kewu, parents pay little or nothing just as the alfa/Mallam goes back to “rob” them at ode (ceremonies), creating a shameful transaction chain. To vitalize the madaris, we need to invest in them. Yea! Invest, we need to endow the system with finance and hopefully Allah will reward us in multifold. He say; ‘
“The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is that of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills….” (Baqarah: 261)
The rich should know that the ile kewu needs more than their petty saara (charities). Instead of sponsoring unwary individuals on pilgrimage, donating millions to social clubs, our elites, businessmen and upper class Muslim citizens should from their somewhat super-generous help with the development structure of the ile-kewu, they could help in buying books or uniform for the kids, or still place the teachers on a pay. If a good structure gives birth to conducive environment and focus, a well-paid teacher will work smartly and diligently and stay away far from image-tarnishing weekend sprees.
However waiting for the super-rich to come to our aid is like waiting for the cat to roar, we should rather start with our kobo and shillings. If the players (esp. teachers) resist change then we may consider the next point.
We may come up with new sets of classes with more proficient teachers and methods that will pose threat to the existing ones and hence making them sit-up or resign.
Weeding out incompetent elements of the system is a no-no when the competent hands are took off the board. Our online posts and comment may not work if we fail to contribute in the best possible ways we could. We may consider the teacher role, a helper, a counsellor, a sponsor and also being student. If your neighbourhood has no class, you may consider setting aside your evenings or weekends to assist if you are competent/grounded with adequate knowledge. Imagine the value a class will have when it has a medical doctor as a teacher or a university don as a student.
Recommendations from my little brain, I’m sure yours will be better, share!