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Unified counterterrorism curriculum for Tsangaya Islamic schools welcomed

23 February 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

New curriculum aims to counter violent and extremist ideologies and ensure pupils will not be influenced by radical groups

Islamic and peacekeeping organisations have welcomed the move to introduce a unified counterterrorism curriculum in Tsangaya schools in Borno State.

Governor Babagana Umara Zulum made the announcement on Tuesday, February 20, saying the new curriculum was aimed at countering violent and extremist ideologies and ensuring pupils would not be influenced by radical groups.

“Our Islamic schools have been operating without a unified curriculum for three to four decades and that is a matter of great concern to all of us. The so-called Boko Haram [Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād – JAS] insurgency was started as a result of some misleading preaching. Therefore it is imperative for us to devise a way to avert such in future.”

Speaking at the council chamber of Government House, Zulum said his administration would ensure that all Islamic schools implement the new curriculum which was based on authentic content in holy books and included teachings centred on Arabic, Qur’ran, Hadith, Tauhid and jurisprudence.

He said the new curriculum was based on the policies of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Zulum said there was concern about the way some Islamic scholars preached.

For that reason, it was necessary to implement new methods of teaching to ensure every child has access to quality Islamic education and that the teachings and preaching complied with the “proper content of the holy books”.

It was of particular importance in Borno State where fighting against JAS, better known as Boko Haram, insurgents had continued for more than 15 years – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden”.

“The so-called Boko Haram insurgency was started as a result of some misleading preaching, therefore it is imperative for us to devise a way to avert such in the future,” Zulum said.

The new curriculum would qualify pupils to gain admission to universities and colleges, he said.

Mohammed Isa, the chairman of the Borno State Islamic Schools Foundation, said: “We are really grateful to the Almighty for allowing us to witness such day; a day when the governor unveiled the inculcation of counterterrorism into the Islamic and Tsangaya curriculum.

“For more than 30 years this type of curriculum has been unsuccessfully attempted by past governors.

“When we visited the governor, he advised us that we should try to ensure that this curriculum is put into practice throughout Borno State. He also said that we should caution the people who are preaching harshly to ensure they make use of only the Hadith and the sayings of the Qur’an.

“The chairman of the Arabic and Tsangaya Education Board, Khalifah Sheikh Ali Abulfathi, told us that the board needs our support and also the support of Tsangaya teachers to ensure the new curriculum is put into practice.

“We are also calling on all parents to support this initiative because it will make learning in Islamic schools far more meaningful and will enable Tsangaya pupils to study further in colleges and universities.”

Jafar Isa, the programme manager at Darul Al Andalus Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution and a peacebuilding specialist, said: “We support this because it will improve education in Islamic schools.

“This will boost pupils’ knowledge. We are asking the people of Borno State and the members of the Islamic Board to support this much-needed initiative and to help Zulum to implement the programme.

“It is the government’s duty to keep an eye on the choice of words Islamic scholars use because it is they who will guide people towards the right path.

“It is imperative for preachers to comply with the teachings of the holy books so that pupils will not be diverted by unprincipled and immoral methods of teaching.”



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