23 July 2020
[Dr. Pasha’s Arabic Language and Cultural Immersion Sessions]
Dr. Pasha in response to several comments by a participant:
Allah bless you for following up on this. How can we be Muslim and not worry about this? Especially, in a place like TT?
The fact is every single Muslim should be literate in Arabic language. All over the world. Every Muslim must learn at least two languages. Mother tongue and Arabic.
It seems to me the main issue is getting trained people to teach Arabic in schools at all levels. I have no idea how that is going to happen.
Participant: Dr. Pasha, Allah bless you for starting this discussion which Insha Allah will lead to getting it done.
Over 30 years ago this was something that we talked about locally and today it still stands not done.I know there were some discussions and talk around this too about 10 or so years ago especially in the context of the local Hindus wanting to introduce Hindi in their schools … actually it’ll be a little more than 10 years ago as the Prime Minister then was the late Mr. Manning. But those discussions had not contemplated such a national broadbased perspective as you are proposing,
To get this done in the main, to my mind, some of the critical issues at this stage would include
- We will have to get the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GoTT) to include this in the national curriculum. A paper can be done and we then pilot it to them.
Dr. Pasha: That will be a wonderful thing. At least to get the ball rolling.
- We would need a training program for training and certifying teachers who would teach Arabic Language - this would have to be a certified program recognized by the GoTT. This could be done by either partnering with some one else to do this or we do the training of the teachers ourselves.
Dr. Pasha: How are we going to do that? I never said this before, but this one is way out of the scope of what we can get done. Considering how many trained hands we will need to deploy all over the country.
Knowing the local players, partnering with anyone locally would be a non-starter. It’ll be a lot of wasted energy and effort and resources - nothing will happen - as it has pretty much not happened over the last 30 years.
Dr. Pasha: Couldn't agree with you more.
As such we should do it ourselves - equip ourselves and do all that is necessary to get it done. Off the top, to me this would mean
- We get ourselves trained in Arabic language and the teaching of Arabic language
- We design and initiate a teachers training Arabic language program
- We get our program registered, certified and accredited.
- We initiate the training of teachers
Dr. Pasha: How on earth are we going to get anywhere near it?
- The target group for us to then train would naturally be Muslim teachers so that this can be an extra subject they append to/include in their (regular) workload and so avoid the issue of how to fund costs associated with hiring specialist teachers who only teach Arabic language.
Dr. Pasha: I do not even pretend to understand this.
As long as the GoTT do not have to find additional funds for the teaching, it’ll make for easier acceptance and approval for inclusion in the national curriculum, by the GoTT
Dr. Pasha: That I agree.
Naturally there are many other tasks, but these to me are the critical ones at this stage.
All of the above are very achievable and we can start to work on them immediately … but the key to this would be “who would train the teachers”. As indicated above, I think we can do it - **1, **2, **3, **4 and me to mention a few names - we can look for 5 more people who we think would be willing to commit to this. We dedicate our selves to learning Arabic language over the next 6 months intensely. We identify a program which can evaluate and certify us. While this is being done we initiate the other aspects … of working on the other tasks.
Dr. Pasha: Allah bless you for your heart. I can help a little bit with teaching Arabic. But I am not sure I have it in me now to make an undertaking like this on a sustained basis.
I am not sure about the others, but I am in.
Dr. Pasha if you can and Allah allows you to train us then that’ll make it so much easier. Otherwise we may have to look for some guidance from online classes. Trying to do this locally, including through the UWI’s CLL would not yield results.
Dr. Pasha: What we can do is maybe on trial basis do a two-hour session or two and see how far we are able to take it.
Is there anyway to get hold of any textbooks of any kind -- good or bad?
We may not succeed in training teachers, but at least we will teach one or two of us a little bit more Arabic than we seem to know now.
And then let Allah take it up "from there." Astaghfirullah.
In the meantime, does not hurt to set in motion the Govt machinery to the extent we can.
Another thing: would it be possible to persuade Darul Ulum people to set up an Arabic teacher training program as part of their curriculum?