The School Management Committee, teachers and Madrasa Resource Centre programme staff meet together in the playground of the Madrasa school Al Jamil, in Donge Mchangani, Zanzibar. The school joined the Madrasa programme in 2000 and graduated in 2001. Through the Zanzibar Madrasa Resource Centre, teachers are trained in classroom practice and the development of teaching aids from locally available material such as bottle tops, shells, stones, etc. They are also trained in administrative skills, such as record keeping, management and planning.
Photo: AKF/Jean-Luc RayIn the mid-1980s, Muslim leaders from Kenya’s coastal region requested assistance in improving the overall level of educational achievement of their children. The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) responded by working with local educators, community leaders and parents to set up the first madrasa pre-schools, so called because they used the facilities of traditional madrasas, or Qur’ãnic schools, which were largely unused in the morning hours.
“If governance is a science, as I believe it is, developing countries must educate about governance at secondary and tertiary levels. Otherwise, they deprive their intelligentsia of academic grounding in the critical knowledge of how democratic states operate.”
His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking on “Democratic Development, Pluralism and Civil Society” at the Nobel Institute, Oslo, Norway, 7 April 2005The process of creating a madrasa programme school begins with the creation and orientation of a local Pre-school Management Committee, which must include at least two women members out of eight; the opening of a pre-school bank account; and registration of the pre-school with the relevant Ministry. The recruitment and training of the teachers begins and, when needed, a school is built or improved. School management committee members receive training in community mobilisation, fund raising, basic accounting skills, management and planning. Teacher training introduces teachers to theories of child development, appropriate learning environments and the creation of low-cost materials. Schools are regularly evaluated on the levels of community involvement and the teaching and learning environment.
Madrasa Resource Centres, supported by the Aga Khan Foundation, assist schools in reaching the agreed levels of quality in order to “graduate” from the programme. Once a pre-school “graduates”, the school can join national associations of graduated pre-schools in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. These associations are slowly taking over day-to-day support to the pre-schools while becoming advocacy groups for early childhood development. The Madrasa Resource Centres are also engaged with governments in developing education policy.
Madrasa Early Childhood Development Programme (2008)
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