Islamic University in Uganda – Government Commends IUIU on Arabic Teaching

The Uganda government has commended the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) for treating Arabic language as a compulsory course unit to all students. Mr. Ismail Mulindwa, a principal Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Sport, made the praise while officiating at the closing ceremony of a ten-day workshop on Arabic/Islamic education at IUIU’s Kabojja Females Campus on June 15, 2009. The workshop attracted 50 male and female Arabic and Islamics teachers from about thirty schools across the country.
“We strongly commend IUIU for spearheading the teaching of Arabic language in this country since 1988. Arabic is an international language and many Arab companies like Warid Telecom and Zain that have come to Uganda would probably need employees who can speak Arabic fluently. I am aware that majority of the Arabic teachers are IUIU trainees.” He said. 

Mr. Mulindwa complained about the lack of requisite papers among Arabic teachers so as to enable government recruit them in public schools. He advised participants to safeguard certificates attained in such forums so that they could in future use them to access government payroll as Arabic teachers. 

The World Federation of International Arab-Islamic Schools (WFIA-IS) in conjunction with IUIU’s Faculty of Islamic Studies and Arabic Language (FISAL) organized the workshop and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) financed it. The federation is an affiliate institution of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and was established and approved by the 7th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 1976, Resolution No. 7/18-AF.

The Federation works for the dissemination of Islamic culture and the teaching of Arabic, the language of the Holy Quran, by extending support to the schools and cultural centers, and by training personnel and developing cooperation among the institutions endeavouring to spread Arabic language and Islamic culture all over the world, as well as by creating sponsorships and supervisory to Arab-Islamic Schools. Currently, Dr. Amir Muhammad Al-Faisal and Dr. Ahmad Fariid Mustafah head the Federation.

Dr. Muhammad Assayd Alluuta, the leader of the workshop and WFIA-IS advisor lauded IUIU for enhancing Arabic and Islamic studies in the region. He said that this workshop was an eye opener to many other activities aimed at strengthening the teaching of Arabic language.  He said that WFIA-IS is working towards establishing the World Examinations’ Council for the Arab-Islamic Schools that it has established.

Dr. Muhammad observed that the Federation has organized more than seventy Arabic and Islamic seminars and workshops worldwide and has established links with International Islamic University in Malaysia (IIUM), International University of Africa, Khartoum and IUIU, with which they have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding.    

Dr. Ahmad Abdul-Aziim, a lecturer of linguistics at Cairo University, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Fauzi, Head of Department, Arabic Language, Cairo University, and Dr. Mahmood Sulaiman facilitated the workshop as resource persons.  

The IUIU Rector, Dr. Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo, while opening the workshop, told the teachers to fulfill the trust (Amaanah) of teaching the future pillars of the Ummah. “As teachers, the Muslim community has entrusted you with its most valuable resource – the children. Be good role models to them,” he said. “You are the cream of our society. We look for you on matters of spiritual growth. Guide us and be morally upright,” the Rector added.

Dr. Sengendo called on Arabic and Islamic teachers to reform the madarasas (elementary primary Qur’an schools) in order to enable them produce children who are fluent in Arabic and good in Qur’an memorization. “We need to change our education system; we need to start with Qur’an memorization. The 21st century needs a child who will operate a patient in the morning of Friday in a theatre and lead Juma prayer in the nearby Mosque, he said.

The Dean of FISAL, Dr. Hussein Bowa, told the teachers to practice Arabic language with students at all levels and look for necessary skills of teaching it. “Many students who offer Arabic do not speak it. This is because their teachers too do not feel comfortable speaking Arabic regularly,” he observed. Dr. Bowa requested the participants to organize internal seminars within their schools and regions to share the skills imparted.  

Dr. Sulait Kabali, Head of Department, Arabic Language (Now Ag. Academic Register), also the local over seer of the workshop, said that the activity was successful and added new skills to all the teachers. He appealed to the participants to establish a strong bond with WFIA-IS and IUIU in order to fulfill the workshop’s resolutions.       

They recommended for more training programmes and thanked the government of Uganda for restoring Arabic language on the national curriculum after it had threatened to scrap it off.  They called on government to recruit more Arabic language teachers, advocated for the unification of Islamic curriculum in different African countries, and creation of an examination body that can evaluate the performance of students to the international standards.

This piece is taken from the website of the Islamic University in Uganda.

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