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IftikharA

Exam Factories

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Exam Factories

 
Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass
exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. Leading
companies are struggling to recruit teenagers with basic skills because schools
have been turned into “exam factories”, business leaders have warned. Many
employers had been left “disheartened and downright frustrated” by poor levels
of literacy, numeracy, communication and timekeeping among school leavers and
graduates. Overemphasis on sitting exams and hitting targets throughout
compulsory education had robbed children of the chance to develop the “soft”
skills needed in the work place. Business leaders believed the emphasis on
passing exams at school meant children failed to develop other skills, including
the ability to hold a conversation, display good work ethic, turn upon time and
apply basic literacy and numeracy.
 
State, independent and faith schools have become exam
factories and are only interested in A to C Grades. They do not educate
children. The result is that anti-social behaviour, gun and knife culture,
racism, drug addiction. binge drinking, high rate of teenage pregnancies and
abortions, high divorce rate are common in society. Exam results do not reflect
a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many
employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers
and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more
companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write
clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and
school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of
basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.
 
Even Muslim schools have also become Exam Factories, only
interested in A to C grades just like state schools. There is a positive
co-relation between faith, culture and language. Faith needs culture and
languages to flourish. According to a research, children who study the language
and culture of their parents may achieve more and become more involved citizens.
Migrant Muslims speak variety of languages. State schools as well as Muslim
schools give lip service to the community languages but majority of Muslim
schools completely ignore or discourage community languages. The ex- chairman of
the Association of Muslim Schools Mr.Idrees Mears, a native revert totally
rejects the teaching of Urdu and other languages. The same opinion was expressed
by the head of state funded Islamia School as well as by the ex- Chairman of the
Nida Trust. They are not in a position to understand the needs and demands of
the bilingual children because they are themselves monolinguals. It is a well
known fact that social and emotional education comes with ones own language,
literature and poetry. Pakistani children suffer more than other children. They
speak different languages at home and when they go to the Masajid they are
exposed to Urdu and Arabic. At schools they are exposed to English and at the
age of 11 are exposed to European languages. Now European languages are
introduced at Primary level, but Urdu is totally ignored and discouraged by the
state as well as by the Muslim schools. English, Arabic and Urdu must be
introduced at nursery level so that the children can grow up with three
languages. We have already lost three generation and the fourth one is in the
process of losing its linguistic and cultural identity by not learning Urdu. The
Muslim community is suffering because of social and cultural problems of high
rate of divorce, run away young girls, low academic achievements, drug
addiction, drinking, teenage pregnancies, disrespect for their parents and
elders, forced marriages and honour killings. It is all because our youth are
cut off from their cultural roots and languages. I blame state schools because
they have never been serious in the teaching of Urdu, Arabic and other community
languages.  
 
An American research reveals in 2005 that bilingual
learners with no education in their first language take longer to learn English
and a bilingual learner with a good education in their own language do best of
all. Muslim schools are committing the same mistake by ignoring community
languages. Even OFSTED is not serious about the importance of bilingualism and
bilingual education. Their priority is the teaching of English language. No body
is denying the importance of English as an economic language but equally
important is the first languages of the children for social and emotional
literacy.
 
The Muslim community has been passing through a phase of
fourth Crusades. The battleground is the field of education, where the young
generation will be educated properly with the Holly Quran in one hand and
Sciences in other hand to serve the British society and the world at large. A
true Muslim is a citizen of the world, which has become a small global village.
We are going to prepare our youth to achieve that objective in the long run. A
true Muslim believes in Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus and without them one
cannot be a Muslim. My suggestion is that in all state, independent and
Christian based school special attention should be given to the teaching of
Comparative Religion and Islam should be taught by qualified Muslim Teachers to
make the children aware the closeness of Islam to Christianity and Judaism which
will help them to think about Islam, as “A Pragmatic and Modern Way of Life,”
during their life time.
 
British schooling and the British society is the home of
institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop
self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with
low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is
born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the
attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common
man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a
Pakistani office cadet who was called a "***" by Prince Harry has profoundly
condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of
Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2006 but now felt upset
after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from
India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other
members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to
India. His portrait is still in one of the royal places.
 
Children should be taught about the contribution Muslims
have made to civilisation in order to combat threats of extremism and
discrimination. It will help native children to develop positive attitudes
towards Muslims. It will bring divided communities closer together, by teaching
children about debt west owe to Muslims - coffee and pinhole camera to the three
- course dinner and advancement in maths. The teaching will bring together
science, history,RE, citizenship and community cohesion - some of the most
pressing problems for the minister responsible for the curriculum. One of the
major reasons for the alienation of British Muslims is a lack of clear identity.
It is crucial for the British society to understand the hugely positive impact
that Islamic inventors have had upon the world, and for Muslims to take pride in
it. At present there is a widespread mis-conception among many people worldwide
that the state of science and technology during the period known as "The Dark
Ages" was that of stagnation and decline. The Muslim civilisation flourished and
contributed to thousands of essential inventions that still affect western life
style. The open recognition of the contribution of the Muslims should be
reflected in the National Curriculum. The mainstream history of scientific ideas
has failed to acknowledge numerous Islamic scientists and their great efforts
and achievements throughout the centuries.
 
A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found
that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out
numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are
becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities.
Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening
over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of
institutional racism. My statement regarding Muslim schools where there is no
place for non-Muslim child or a teacher is based on educational process and not
on racism. Muslim children need Muslim teachers during their developmental
periods. For higher studies and research, Muslim teacher is not a
priority.
 
I have been campaigning for Muslim schools since early 70s
because there is no place for foreign cultures, languages and faiths in state
schools. Muslim children are victim of racial abuse and discrimination. Neither
Muslim community nor the DFE paid any attention to my proposal. Muslim community
kept on setting up Masajid for worshiping and for the education of their
children. Masajid help Muslim children to recite the Holy Quran without
understanding and teach them how to perform their prayers. DFE introduced
Multicultural education for the integration and assimilation of the Muslims.
 
I regard Muslim schools not just Faith schools but more or
less bilingual schools. I set up the first Muslim school in Forest Gate London
in 1981. Special attention was given to Standard English, Arabic and Urdu
languages along with National Curriculum. But due to its closure, it could not
become a model school for others to follow. Islamia School, founded by Yusuf
Islam became the model school where there is no place for the teaching of Urdu
and other community languages and only Arabic is taught.
 
The sound knowledge of ones owns language would appear to
help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children
may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one
language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future.
Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major
educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at
present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational
asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission
of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is
essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for
the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity.
Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille,
by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are
not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and
integration into their own community and identity.
 
Majority of Muslim children are from Pakistan, Bangladesh
and India They need to learn Arabic and Urdu to keep in touch with their
cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Urdu is a
lingua frankua of the Muslim communities from the sub-continent. The young
generation learn Urdu from Indian/Pakistani films, more than two dozens TV
Channels and couple of radio stations broadcasting round the clock in
Urdu/Hindi. They can speak and understand but are unable to read and write Urdu
literature and poetry. Bilingualism and bilingual education should be part and
parcel of each and every Muslim school. The problem is that most of Muslim
schools are running by British educated Muslims who are made monolinguals by
state schools. They do not feel the charm of bilingualism. They have never been
given the chance to learn Arabic and Urdu along with English. An English man is
proud of his language, culture and faith or no faith. In the same way a Muslim
should be proud of his faith, languages and cultures. In my opinion at least
three hours a day must be given for the teaching of English, Arabic, Urdu and
other community languages from nursery level. The teaching of Standard English
will help them to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and
research to serve humanity.
 
According to a recent report, Muslim schools performed
best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country's 7000
schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on
traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children what is right
and what is wrong, because young children need structured guidance.
 
Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any
other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a
mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms
of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state
funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim
parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should
take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the
diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private
sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because
parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be
trusted.
 
The British Government is planning to make it easier to
schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state
schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause
dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true
understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the
teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in
recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and
Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Muslim children suffer from
identity crises because their parents teach them Islam and their schools teach
them something else. There must be a positive co-relation between school and
home, otherwise, children will suffer academically, spiritually , socially and
emotionally. They are also unable to develop self-confidence and
self-esteem.
 
You better teach your children in your own schools and let
migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands.
British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own
society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community
does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility,
anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage
pregnancies and abortion.  Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant
maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the
future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend
state schools deemed to be "sink schools"? In education, there should be a
choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and
early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a
"school hijacker" by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east
London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and
diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are
different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a
further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for
five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in
Birmingham and Hackney.  Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of
the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism,
multiculturalism and bullying.
 
There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools
where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted
out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent
education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others
and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give
young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching
of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role
in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have
better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline,
structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim
teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their
needs and demands.
IA
London School of Islamics Trust

 

 

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    • By Iftikhar

      The Role of OFSTED



      Education of Bilingual Muslim Children


       
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In my opinion, British schooling has been producing Muslim youths with anger, extremism and frustration. Muslim children are confused because they are being educated in a wrong place at a wrong time in state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. They face lots of problems of growing up in two distinctive cultural traditions and value systems, which may come into conflict over issues such as the role of women in the society, and adherence to religious and cultural traditions. The conflicting demands made by home and schools on behaviour, loyalties and obligations can be a source of psychological conflict and tension in Muslim youngsters. There are also the issues of racial prejudice and discrimination to deal with, in education and employment. They have been victim of racism and bullying in all walks of life. British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. BNP, EDL and all other main political parties are the true photo of the racist British society. Why not NATO and all the other WATCH DOGS group impose sanction on England, for not doing anything to tackle the racism in their Country. These so-called organisations can interfere with the Middle East Countries, to rape the people of their OIL! But can’t do anything about the racism and exploitation of minority groups in England. When these societies oppress some groups, and unleash the monster then, and the people retaliate, then they call them terrorist! Need some serious pro-action instead of reaction. According to DFE, 56% of Pakistanis and 54% of Bangladeshi children has been victims of bullies. The first wave of Muslim migrants were happy to send their children to state schools, thinking their children would get a much better education. Than little by little, the overt and covert discrimination in the system turned them off. There are fifteen areas where Muslim parents find themselves offended by state schools. The British teachers have no respect for Islamic faith and Muslim community. Western education system can easily deprogram Muslim children and force them to adopt un-Islamic values. Let the Muslim parents decides how and where to educate their children. According to MORI social research institute on behalf of Bristol LEA, nine out of ten Muslim parents agreed with the model of an Islamic secondary school set up within the state system. I rejected British schooling for Muslim children in the early 70s. I have been campaigning for state funded Muslim schools since then. I set up the first Muslim school in London in 1981. At the time of 9/11, there were only 54 schools and now there are more than168 full time Muslim schools and more are in the pipe lines. Only 12 Muslim schools are state funded. According to a report, the majority of Islamist terrorists in the UK are British born and educated is under the age of 30, well educated and likely to be employed. Most terrorism in Britain is committed by home-grown terrorists. Britain’s fight against terrorism has been a disaster. It has alienated Muslim youths. The campaign has targeted non-violent Muslims and branded them as supporters of violence. Britain remains under severe risk from terror attacks. The government policy had made the task of the police harder by alienating Muslim youths. The staffs at Gendale Primary in Pollokshield, where Muslim children are in majority, are being asked to look for signs of radicalisation. It is an increibly worrying development. We cannot have a culture of teachers spying on Muslim children as young as five. Racism is very ripe in Scottish schools and society. Muslim and other minority children has been victim of racism in all walks of life. LAs and schools are trying their best to hide this issue under the carpet. Hardly anybody was convicted or imprisoned by the Authorities. What do you expect from Muslim youths when they have been victim of racism throughout their development periods? Now Muslim youths are victim of terrorism. Thousands of them are being searched in streets and hundreds of them are behind the bar without any trials.
       
      Bilingualism can help pupils' all-round education and should be encouraged. Children who know an “eastern” as well as a “western” language are more academically able than others. With the pace at which the world interacts today, multi-lingualism is a step forward. Almost all recent research literature agrees that if you want children whose home language is not English to excel in English –medium schools, it is important to nurture and acknowledge that first language alongside their English development. Cultivating bilingualism could and should promote pupil’s linguistic development. Muslim community feels that state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not suitable for bilingual Muslim children. The number of Muslim schools is on the increase and I believe that by 2020 there will be more than 500 Muslim schools. Muslim schools give young children self-confidence and self-esteem in who they are and an understanding of Islamic teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. According to a study by ioe, putting children in classes with a range of minority children does not necessarily lead to improved race relation. Native children become less tolerant of minority classmates after being overtaken by them in lessons. It seems that minorities are only accepted by majority pupils if they stay in a subordinate position. Minorities may not be perceived as a threat when they are struggling to succeed, but as they increase their status and become more adept at finding their way in society, this seems to change. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies. Muslim schools protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Euro-centrism, homosexuality, racism, binge drinking, drug addiction, incivility, anti-social behavior, teenage pregnancies and abortions and secular traditions. Muslim schools made pupils aware of their future role as proactive British Muslims and left them well prepared for life in a multicultural society. Under British education system, Muslim children will distance themselves from their culture, languages and faith. There is nothing left but their beautiful Muslim names.
       
      English is one of the most damaging subject, reflects secular and immoral beliefs that contradict the viewpoint of Islam. Romeo and Juliet of Shakespare advocates disobeying parents and premarital relations. Most people know English as a language, perhaps as a global language. Now English has become an industry, according to Ahmar Mahboob from the University of Sydney. There are a range of commercial, economic, and industrial interests that are affiliated to it. It is these interests that we will call 'industry'. English language relates to the interests of corporations and governments, who use the language to make money and to promote certain beliefs and practices. As English was (and is) learnt in many parts of the world as an additional language, the learners need teachers, teaching material, and language tests, etc. This need for teachers and material has led to a development of a large number of local, national, and multinational corporations that train and produce these human and material resources. Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right is also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime.
       
      Official figures show that almost one million pupils speak English as a second language but British schooling has been accused of making them notoriously monolingual Brits. The teachers even discourage children to speak their languages at schools. The teachers do not teach them Standard English. The children learn local English accent in playground and in street. British schooling is also responsible for turning away bilingual migrant children from their mother tongues. It does not encourage or provide facilities for the teaching and learning of their languages. There is a positive co-relation between British schooling and Aborigines Protection Act. It enabled to remove children from their parents and to place them in institutions so that they could forget their cultural roots and languages. British schooling has been anglocising Muslim children and they find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and languages. Teaching profession does not like Muslim children attending Masajid in the evening or at weekends to learn the Holy Quran, Arabic, Urdu and other community languages. Even full time Muslim schools have been classified as “Osama bin Laden Academies” by Nasuwt Teaching Union. Majority of anti-Muslim stories are not about terrorism but about Muslim culture--the hijab, Muslim schools, family life and religiosity. Muslims in the west ought to be recognised as a western community, not as an alien culture.
       
      The present structure of OFSTED is not in a position to inspect Muslim schools properly. There is a dire need for bilingual Muslim Inspectors. Non-Muslim monolingual Inspectors are not in a position to inspect Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim children. OFSTED should employ bilingual Muslim inspectors for the inspection who should not only be well versed in English, Arabic, Urdu and other community languages but also in sciences and humanities. Muslim girl schools should be inspected by Muslim ladies inspectors. They must make sure that Bilingual Muslims children have a right, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum.
      Bilingual Muslim children need to learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. The problem is that they learn English in the streets and in the playgrounds. British schooling does not teach English to migrant children. The teachers let them speak the same accent in the classroom. They have no courage to stop them or correct them. This is one of the main reasons why one third of children have difficulties with reading when they leave primary schools. Majority of such children are bilingual Muslims. They often speak "street" with its own grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. In other European countries and in the sub-continent argot and slang are not allowed into the classrooms. In Britain primary school teachers do not feel that it's role to interfere with self-expression in any shape or form. They encourage children to read poems and stories written in ethnic dialects. Bilingual Muslim teachers are in a better position to teach English to their children.
      Iftikhar Ahmad
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