Have you ever read about how Islam Spread to West Africa and for that matter the Gold Coast (Ghana)? What is the nature of Islamic education, and how is it different from the Western Christian education? Are there any similarities between Islamic and western education?

It must be noted that the Christian Missionary Societies introduced the Christian religion and western – type formal education in the country. From this, it could be seen that Christianity and western – type formal education are foreign element that were introduced in our society and culture.

Another set of foreign elements introduced in Ghanaian Society and culture are: Islamic religion and Islamic education. We want to remind you that, in fact, Islam was the first foreign civilization to be introduced into Ghana; and in effect Islam came to the country before Christianity.

Islamic religion was introduced into West Africa in the 11th Century AD and by the 14th Century, Islam had reached modern day Ghana. The Mende Dyula taders who came into contact with Islam, spread the region and its associated educational practices to Northern Ghana down to Asante. The Mende traders came as far as Salaga, Bono, Techiman and eventually Kumasi to trade and brought the region with them. Ghanaians living in those areas at that time accepted the Islamic faith and for that matter Islamic education.

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The nature of Islamic education and its level
Let us begin by saying that Islamic education is slightly different from Africa Traditional Education and the western (formal/school) education that was introduced by the Christian missionaries. Can you guess the differences?
• Unlike traditional education which is incidental and not structured, Islamic education is structured.
• Unlike the Western formal education that is based on a broad curriculum, Islamic education is directly based on the Quran – the authoritative source of the Islamic faith and its religious practices
Orthodox Islamic Education
Levels of Education
The orthodox Islamic education has three main levels as follows:

  1. Elementary or Quranic Schools (Makaranta)
  2. Secondary level education (Madrasa)
  3. Tertiary education (Makaranta Ilmi). The Makarantun Ilmi provided education comparable to that provided in a university.

Text / Curriculum
The orthodox Islamic education is based solely on the Quran; in effect, the Quran forms the source of curriculum.

Access and Participation
• Open to all – mass participation is encouraged but most especially to Muslim males
• Not based on the ability to pay fees because every Muslim scholar has the pious duty to pass on what he has learnt from the Quran and other Islamic teachers are rewarded by alms giving.
• Islamic teachers are rewarded by alms giving

Course Content
• The Tafsir (Quranic exegesis or explanation)
• The Hadith (the Prophetic Tradition)
• The Figh (Islamic Law) ect
These were central to excellent Islamic education

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Instructional Approach
(a) Rote learning which involved mass recitation of aspects of the Quran is the principal method of teaching and learning.
(b) Explanation of aspects of the Quran (Quranic exegesis) is done at a higher level
(c) Reading, commentary and exegesis remain dominat at the Makarantun Ilmi level

Medium of Instruction
Arabic language

Ahmadiyya Muslims and Islamic Education
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Islamic education was introduced into the country in 1921 with its headquarter at Saltpond in the Central Region.

Levels of Education
They adopted the educational approaches of the Christian Missionaries i.e.
• Primary level
• Secondary level
• Tertiary level
Access and Participation
• Open to all
• They encourage all faithful’s to attain higher level of education • They stresses on female education more than the Orthodox Muslims.

Course Content
✓ Same as done in the Orthodox Islamic School
✓ Western education and technology (Their children are therefore exposed to other subjects in the public and secular schools in Ghana)

Instructional Approaches
✓ Rote learning is encouraged at the lower levels
✓ Learners are exposed to secular methodologies in public schools.

Medium of Instruction English and Arabic.

Achievement of Islamic Education in Ghana
• It has produced many distinguished scholars in the country
• Many Quranic Schools have been established and the Ahmadiyya Movement in Ghana has moved a step furthure to establish a number of Primary and Secondary schools. Examples of Secondary schools are I.T.
Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi, Gomoa Potsin and Ekumfi Essarkyir. Mention can also be made of the N.J Ahmadiyya Trading College at Wa as another achievement.
• Islamic education has promoted literacy in Arabic among Muslims and strengthen their Islamic faith.
• Islamic education has also contributed to social mobility among the Muslim population.
• Islamic education is now provided in all parts of country. It is also based on text, written and structured.

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Problems of Islamic Education
• Islamic education has a tendency to neglect western forms of knowledge and technology as in the case of the Orthodox Muslims. And in our modern
Westernized sector of the economy, it has affected occupational opportunities for many young and brilliant Muslims
• The tendency of Orthodox Muslims to emphasized Arabic to the neglect of English has also affected the educational advancement of the many Muslim youth
• The emphasis on rote learning and memorization does not foster critical thinking among learners
• Non – Mislim and Non – Arbic Speakers are not encouraged to learn more about Islam in view of the fact there are no readily available trasnsaction of basic Islamic texts

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