Rethinking Islamic Education in Europe:
Research, Professional Practice and Policy Development
5th-7th September 2016
Scarman House, University of Warwick
In association with Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit
Centre for Education Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Warwick
Since their mass arrival after the Second World War, Muslim communities in the UK and across Western Europe have experienced a complex set of socio-economic, political and educational challenges. The rise of religiously motivated global terrorism, home-grown extremism and overwhelmingly security-focused official policy responses to these events have further undermined social and community cohesion. Muslim children and young people, who constitute the highest percentage within the overall Muslim demographics, have been most affected by these developments. The identities of Muslim communities, particularly the young, are shaped by the uncertainties of an inherited post-colonial Muslim world and the expectations of wider secular and multicultural societies.
Bringing about confident Islamic self-understandings through reflective pedagogies of studying Islam, its rich legacy and nurturing intercultural and inter-religious engagement, as well as developing competence for active citizenship, remain essential for the community and the wider society to address. Education in general, and Islamic Education in particular, are critical long term areas of investment that will shape our longer term responses to the significant set of issues that concern us all. However, the relevance of the current models of Islamic Education in adequately addressing the present contexts and facilitating a positive transformation within the community require re-examination. There is an urgent need to develop research-based scholarly approaches in the field so that a set of professional standards can inform and guide its diverse practitioners.
The first Warwick Islamic Education Summer School aims to offer a rigorous academic forum to rethink Islamic educational practice that takes place within formal/informal educational settings and identify future research and policy directions in the field. There will be opportunities for networking and special sessions for young researchers to present their work. The aim is to facilitate a cross-fertilization of ideas and to share the best practice among the emerging community of researchers, practitioners and policy makers working within this inter-disciplinary area of study. One of the main expectations of the meeting is to consider setting up a specialist ‘Islamic Education Research Network’ at Warwick. The workshop is also open to researchers and educators who are interested in developing their understanding of the educational culture and pedagogic practice within Muslim communities and their interaction with wider social and educational institutions.
The Summer School will be delivered through interactive workshops, lectures and presentations. The participants will have the opportunity to know more about the Islamic Education initiative at Warwick, research expertise within WRERU and the wider relevant research and taught programmes within CES. The aim of this initial meeting is to map out the major areas of research, professional practice and policy development in Islamic Education, and identify topics to be explored in depth during the next annual meeting of the Summer School.
What will it include?
The three day intensive programme will offer a systemic classification of these topics and explore the foundational themes in detail:
- Critically assess theoretical approaches to define education in Islam and identify the scholarly framework of Islamic Education;
- Do educational aims/values in Islam and the Western Secular Modernity remain inherently oppositional and incommensurable?
- Through adopting an integrative model of Islamic Education, address the dichotomy between faith-based study of slam and diverse academic approaches to teach Islam and Muslims in mainstream higher education institutions.
- Explore possibility of a critical dialogue between traditions of education in Islam and contemporary educational theories and models of pedagogic practice.
- Consider application of empirical research methodologies in the social scientific study of religion(s) into Islamic Education.
- Develop research-based reflective practice in Islamic Education.
- Gain insights into diverse literature in the field, acquire analytical study skills to identify gaps within the existing literature.
- Form research collaborations, at both national and international levels, that address practical concerns and issues in Islamic Education and Muslim educational organisations.
- Assess and suggest ways to improve the educational culture within diverse forms of Islamic Education in Europe: madrassa/Mosque education, Muslim schools and Islamic seminaries.
- Consider the challenges facing Muslim Higher Education Institutions in Europe: traditional and hybrid models, and their collaboration/integration within the European higher education systems
- Assess polices of educational ‘exclusion and inclusion’ within the context of European Muslim diaspora.
- Critically evaluate the presentation of Islam and Muslims within the mainstream secular curriculum with specific reference to diverse European models of Religious Education.
- Explore issues concerning Muslim teacher training, Muslim theological education with special reference to female religious and educational leadership in the community.
- Develop learner-centred and transformative Islamic pedagogies capable of bringing about competent Islamic literacy and mature faith development.
- Examine teaching of Islam in sensitive contexts such as in the prison service and assess adequacy and impact of Islamic education provision within the ‘revert/convert communities’.
- Islamic Education and developing community-based models of engagement with religious extremism.
- Discuss effective ways of bridging the gap in the educational experience of Muslim children and introduce inter/intra-faith learning/teaching opportunities in diverse Muslim educational settings.
- Consider the significance of pedagogic skills and competence in facilitating better public understanding of Islam.