27 Dec 2010

New Directions for Muslim Universities

Author: hashcookies | Filed under: Multiversity

Multiversity is pleased to circulate the following resolutions adopted at the Muslim Universiies Vice-Chancellors’/Presidents’ Forum held on 19-20 October 2010.


19-20 OCTOBER, 2010






Resolution 1

The Muslim Universities Vice-Chancellors’ Forum, in its 19th-20th October, 2010 forum, declares the urgent need to look for an Islamic approach to higher education, collectively, for developing minds with Islamic and universal values.

Resolution 2

Given the diverse structures and ideologies of higher education models, Muslim universities must focus on a criterion-referenced as opposed to norm-referenced higher education approach. The latter is derived from the Eurocentric system whilst the former is based on the best practices in early Muslim and relevant western institutions.

Resolution 3

Given that most education systems are currently deviated, if not contradictory, to the primacy of knowledge and education in Islam, and thus could be a challenge to not only the Muslim ummah, there must be a concerted effort to reconstruct the “accepted” Eurocentric worldview on education.

Resolution 4

Given that there are inherent flaws in the current higher education construct, there is a need for a better alternative model of higher education, focusing on two central issues pertaining to education in general: the intellectual and structural dimension.

Resolution 5

Given the current approaches of higher education that are characterised by Eurocentrism, Anthropocentrism, Androcentricism, and the neglect of tradition (both local and Islamic), the reform of higher education should aim at realigning the teaching and learning process, as well as those of research and governance in order to close, if not eliminate, the existing gaps.

Resolution 6

Given the limited scope and depth of teaching and learning objectives, the education model(s) inspired by Islam, should be based on epistemology methods of argumentation (mantiq), which articulate the various stages of orientation such as (a) Burhan (demonstration), (b) Jadal (dialectics), (c) Balaghah (rhetorics), (d) Shi’ir (poetics), and (e) Safsata (sophistics).

Resolution 7

Given that there are gaps between the level(s) of education and scientific research in Muslim countries and other nations, there must be a concentrated effort to strengthen commitment to higher education and involvement in research and development activities.

The efforts should include the following recommendations:

  1. addressing the possible marginalisation of women in education or the need to shift to high-tech products; and
  2. networking between member countries and improvement in shared infrastructure and infostructure facilities including that of the Internet.

Resolution 8

Given that member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have much to do in higher education, they should carry out the following:

  1. allocate more resources for higher education,
  2. improve student-teacher ratio,
  3. encourage the establishment of universities/colleges  and research centres while improving the performance of the existing centres,
  4. stimulate further relevant and appropriate research and development activities,
  5. encourage joint research ventures among members of the OIC,
  6. encourage private sector investment and support in research and development, and
  7. promote autonomy and open communication for better products and services.

Resolution 9

Given the biasness of orientation of the conventional measure of higher education performance, there is a need to construct an alternative approach such as the Alternative University Appraisal, led by the United Nations University, to reflect more holistically the state of a university in line with the objectives and philosophy of Islamic higher education.

Resolution 10

Given that Muslims are over-dependent on foreign countries to model themselves based on a different playing field, there should be a special mechanism that allows room for the less developed or underdeveloped OIC member countries to explain for their delayed performance in areas of higher education.

The said countries may spend less in research and development but they should prioritise their funding on basic and immediate needs. Thus, the Forum should focus, first and foremost, on the ways to develop the Muslim ummah.

Resolution 11

The strong need for an Islamic education model does not necessarily give rise to the need to establish a new ‘physical’ university to implement the model. A virtual university concept could be adopted and/or enhanced to operationalise such a model.

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