Saudi education system should go ‘glocal’

4167Saudi Arabia could inspire a renaissance in education here and abroad by creating a curriculum that combines the basic tenets of Islam with modern teaching methods and knowledge, according to a local educationist.

Faiza Abdul Qayyum, who has a Ph.D. in innovative education from Washington International University, said this could transform the Islamic world and give students a real “glocal” perspective on the world. This means having a view that covers modern education developments but is grounded in local Islamic traditions and values, she said.

Faiza, who is a curriculum developer and accreditation specialist, said that in the US there are different standards and benchmarks to determine literacy.

“Saudi standards ought to integrate the Islamic perspective, so that these benchmarks become not only common core standards for Saudi schools but also for the millions of schools around the world that want Islamic and modern education for their citizens.”

Different schools in Saudi Arabia can follow the curriculum of any American state, for instance, California State, Florida State or New York State boards. However, these standards should be used as yardsticks with the Saudi Education Ministry developing them into standardized literacy benchmarks that all national and international schools in the Kingdom could use.

“When students study the Renaissance in history, they should also be taught about how the Qur’an brought about the true renaissance in the modern history of mankind.”

“When students learn about how Lincoln abolished slavery in the US, they will also get to know how our Last Prophet, peace be upon him, brought the concepts of slavery, class and creed to an end. Similarly, in business studies, they can be taught how micro banking is a boon to the economy and how Islamic banking and zakat can eradicate poverty completely.”

When students learn about the role of women, their leadership and right to vote in modern history, they should also be aware of how our Mother of Believers depicted a true Muslim woman’s demeanor, she said.

A Muslim student is already a global citizen in the sense that he or she acts for social good following the tenets of Islam, she said. “The meaning of Islam is peace so as Muslims we should spread peace and knowledge to all.”

“I have a dream that such a balanced education system is adopted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in future,” she said.

Faiza said she developed a modern syllabus with an Islamic perspective as president of her previous school’s curriculum committee. “I believe in creating a customized core curriculum with a basic syllabus concentrating on American/British benchmarks integrated with Islamic concepts, in addition to extramural studies.”

“When I developed the set of courses for my schools I customized it bearing in mind the careers, national and international scenario for both boys and girls. For instance, I had strongly suggested interior design and home economics for girls and business, mathematics and world history for boys; and information communication technology, English and foreign language proficiency for both at middle and high school levels.”

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