Muscat, Asharq al-Awsat- A GCC official has denied reports that foreign countries are pressuring GCC states to change the Islamic education curricula. He stressed that the changes in these curricula was a “domestic need” and not imposed from abroad.
Dr. Ali bin Abdul Khaliq Al Qarni, director-general of the Arab Education Bureau for Gulf Countries, told Asharq Al-Awsat that development programs in the field of Islamic education were in the implementation stage after they were ratified at the Jabir summit, which was hosted recently in Saudi Arabia, and that they had been included in the plan to develop education. Al-Qarni added that the implementation process of this plan would require time.
The GCC and Yemeni education ministers concluded their meetings earlier this week within the framework of the 19th session of the “general conference of the GCC Arab Education Bureau;” these meetings continued for two days in the Omani capital, Muscat.
The session was held with the goal to develop and modernize the GCC states education systems in a way compatible with the requirements of both the present and the future. The discussions will stem from the plan to develop education, which was prepared by the GCC Arab Education Bureau, which Al-Qarni considers a fundamental building block of the education development system.
Al-Qarni stressed to Asharq al-Awsat: “The contents of these programs will not be discussed. We will talk about laying down the framework for the curriculum document, including the skills that the student ought to acquire in every academic year. In the light of this framework, every country will write the curricula in the way it considers suitable.”
Al-Qarni added: “As for the other program, it is the development of the strategies of teaching Islamic education. This is because part of the problem is the selection of the course we ought to follow, a problem that is not restricted to Islamic education.”
Al-Qarni continued: “One of the issues offered for discussion is the introduction of technology in teaching Islamic education, so that the student would benefit more from the subject, rather than basing the teaching only on instruction.”
Al-Qarni explained that the bureau would draw up new education models; in addition to that it would train the teachers. He stressed: “The fundamental difference will be in the development, as Islamic education will become a dynamic subject.”
Al-Qarni stressed that this development was basically a domestic need of the GCC countries. He rejected what was being said about interference or influences from abroad in the curricula. He said: “The same as we developed the Arabic, mathematics, science, and other curricula, today we are developing the Islamic curricula. Contrary to what is being circulated, we will focus more on these curricula, because religion is very important in our countries, and religious education ought to have a continuous impact on our students after they leave school. The new perspective and concept of Islamic education will be compatible with the new developments of modern education, and not with the needs of other people.”