In the last edition I asked the question, wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could understand what we read so that we could earn ‘brownie points’ for the virtue as well as the understanding of the Quran and its teachings?
I also referred to the first word ever revealed being ‘IQRA’, to proclaim, to understand and to share.
Ultimately, the purpose of me writing about this was to share my concern that children were not necessarily ‘understanding’ what they were being taught. I feel it is important that we as responsible adults/parents/members of our respective communities, regardless of wider political or religious affiliations, ensure that we as a community are doing the best we can for the future generations.
Having received some great feedback from teachers and parents alike, who read the article, it all boiled down to whether our models of religious teachings are fit for purpose? When I say fit for purpose, it’s not the content of the ‘education and learning’ which is being discussed, it’s the number of ‘models’ of teaching and how do we know which ones are the best?
Let’s take mainstream education, which affords the benefits of, or perhaps not at times which is a whole different debate in itself, the government deciding the curriculum and its contents/style of teaching etc., based upon consultations/research . Coming back to my original question, if we are to reach some sort of ideal way of achieving ‘IQRA’ then we must ask ourselves;
Do we have a set of standards and benchmarks to assess religious educational achievement against?
Do we have safe guarding measures in place and CRBS across the institutions as standard?
Are we achieving best practice and learning outcomes for the students?
Personally speaking, as parents we took the decision to send our children to learn the Quran and about Islam at a local place which is a ‘Sunday School’ model as we felt it was too much for children to go from school for so many hours every evening to a madrasah setting. However my niece attends a small class within a house which is run by a local lady every evening. We also have friends who have home tuition for their religious education needs.
Parenting doesn’t come with a one size fits all manual so to speak, we do what we think is the best for our children. I’m yet to meet a parent who would tell me otherwise. And within this context the more I have explored this, the more I feel we have a need for clarity and discussion.
So as much I’d like to say I have a set of solutions, I don’t, but I am clear that we cannot and must not shy away from asking ourselves if we, not only the parents but the providers of our religious education, are doing enough to address the holistic needs of religious education and those of our children?