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Muslim Academies

Muslim Academies

Academies bill will enable a radical overhaul of England's schools, giving every school
the chance to convert to an academy and giving parents the right to create free
schools outside the control of LAs.The new schools will drive up standards and
the education would be in accordance with the needs and demands of the parents.
It will help native Brits, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities to set
up their own schools for the education of their children. It is nothing to do
with integration or segregation. Segregation already exists in British
schoolings, it is not going to widen. President Obama supports free schools in
America because they have benefitted the least well off the most. Educating
children is the priority.

It is wrong to assert that a small
unrepresentative group of Muslim activists tried to Islamises a state primary
school in Woking. The silent majority of Muslim parents would like to send
their children to state funded Muslim schools. They are not extremists who want
to change of ethos of those schools where Muslim children are in majority. It
is the democratic right of every Muslim parent to see that their children receive
balanced education, so that when their children grow up, they do not find themselves
cut off from their cultural roots and linguistic skills. It is a question of
common sense, humanity and reason that bilingual Muslim children must be
educated in state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role
models during their developmental periods. The whole world believes that people
who speak more than one language is a vital economic asset. Pupils who speak
more than one language do not cause difficulties. It is the politicians and
monolingual teachers who are the problems for bilingual pupils. Muslim school
will help to cultivate the child into a healthy, fully flourishing individual
with a passion for learning. There are
hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In
my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies.

Muslim schools are not only faith schools;
they are more or less bilingual schools. 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. State schools with
monolingual teachers do not teach Standard English to Migrant children. Bilingual
Muslim children learn English in the playgrounds and in the streets. They speak
street language with its own grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. 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 Muslims. In
other European countries and in the sub-continent argot and slang are not
allowed into the classroom. In Britain primary school teachers do not feel that
it’s their role to interfere with self-expression in any shape or form. They
encourage children to read poems and stories written in ethnic dialects.

Muslim faith schools are more or less
bilingual schools. Priority will be given to the teaching of Standard English,
Arabic, Urdu and other community languages. All Muslim children will learn and
be well versed in Standard English and Quranic Arabic and at the same time they
will learn and be well versed in one of the community language to keep in touch
with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.
Majority of children will learn Urdu language because it is a lingua franca of
the migrants from the sub-continent. And majority of British Muslims are from
Pakistan and their national language is Urdu.

Iftikhar Ahmad


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