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Thursday, June 29, 2017

PAGE: Tahfiz schools must teach students skills to earn a living

The parents' body is worried the supply of ustaz will soon exceed demand following the mushrooming of tahfiz schools in the country.
azimah-rape-case-1PETALING JAYA: A parents’ group has urged tahfiz schools to teach their students additional money-earning skills, expressing worry that many who graduate from these schools could end up on the streets asking for charity.
The plea comes after the Singapore’s Straits Times (ST) reported that more religious schools were opening in Malaysia.
It said as the emphasis at these tahfiz schools was on memorising the Quran, most of these students ended up becoming ustaz or religious teachers after they graduated.
Speaking to FMT, Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) head Noor Azimah Rahim said tahfiz students must be taught other skills to help them survive in the event the supply of religious teachers exceeds demand.
“They should be able to fend for themselves job-wise,” she said.
“This means incorporating other skills in the curriculum, skills that will help the students pay bills, provide for their families and be able to give to charity instead of receiving charity.”
All this, she said, was part and parcel of becoming a good Muslim.
“All Muslims are encouraged to memorise and understand the Quran but remember that the Prophet Muhammad himself had also said that the hand that gives is better than the hand that takes.”
The ST report revealed that in the past six years alone, 900 new private Islamic schools had mushroomed across Malaysia, 600 of them unregistered.
Azimah noted what had transpired after the death of 11-year-old tahfiz student Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi, following alleged abuse at the hands of his school assistant warden in Kota Tinggi.
She said the education ministry had announced that it would collaborate with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to expedite the registration of private religious schools.
Azimah renewed the call — previously made by several NGOs — to make it compulsory for tahfiz schools to be registered under the education ministry.
“I think, ideally, anything related to education should be placed under the education ministry.
“The ministry must be able to play some kind of supervisory role and monitor the types of education available in the country.
“I’m not saying the ministry should impose anything in terms of the schools’ curriculum or even teaching, but it must play a ‘big brother’ role, such as the central bank’s supervision of banks.”
Thaqif, who had both legs amputated due to injuries suffered, slipped into a coma before dying at Hospital Sultan Ismail in Johor Bahru on April 26.
His death sparked widespread calls for an oversight body to register and monitor tahfiz schools.
In April, Azimah urged the government to form a royal commission of inquiry or an independent task force to assess the teachers, teaching qualifications and skills, quality of staff and curriculum at tahfiz schools in the country. - FMT

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