By S M Fasiullah, TwoCircles.net,
Hyderabad: Schools play a crucial role in nurturing children. India being a pluralistic society with diverse population calls for variety of schools to cater to heterogeneous populace. In Hyderabad there are numerous schools including the ones that teach about Islam. With considerable NRI Muslims who have global exposure, the demand for schools to teach more than just Arabic with contemporary curriculum is rapidly growing.
A group of highly qualified individuals in Hyderabad, realizing the contemporary demand, came up with a new conceptual school to offer “finest and holistic quality education with Islamic orientation”. They are experimenting with unique approach and method for educating young minds at their Insight International School, with the aim to take the idea to other cities in India as well.
The school, which came into existence two years ago with over 150 students in Shaikpet area of the city, has attracted hundreds more students in following years. Insight’s Principal Khadeja thinks that with 24 distinctly qualified teaching staff, they are in a better position to nurture students to make them good human beings and valuable asset of the society.
Taking inspiration from universal Islamic teachings, at Insight they promise to "grooming (students) to lead the change" and develop leaders of tomorrow. When asked how that would be achieved, Ms. Khadeja responded with a firm belief: “Islamically oriented international education along with our gardener’s approach will help us in achieving the goal”.
At Insight, students are taught in an innovative way perhaps Mr. Perfectionist of Bollywood would love it. Specially trained teachers at Insight nurture talent and humanness among students with their ‘gardener’s approach’. A teacher, when asked to about the approach, said: “we enable students to become what they are naturally inclined towards rather than conditioning them”.
Her answer reminds me of British novelist Charles Dickens who satirized the education system during ‘Industrialization’ period (in his novel Hard Times) whose purpose was not more than to: “Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.”
Unlike ‘manufacturing’ approach that fails to consider intrinsic drives of a child, gardener’s approach ensures children get required support and polishing to prosper in a natural way. British actor Ralph Fiennes once said: “Gardeners are good at nurturing, and they have a great quality of patience, they're tender.”
Islam being a universal religion gives a worldview and is concerned with every area of human activity. Prof. MKM Zafar, one of the key persons to propel the Insight idea, said students must have a universal worldview. The reason they want to teach students Islamic values at Insight is that in future these students should serve society in a better way. To achieve this goal, they are integrating Islamic teachings with arts & sciences, and utilizing latest educational pedagogies and technologies in tune with global standards.
Insight director Syed Sadatullah Husaini, who has a track record of community leadership, has been actively trying to take the idea to other cities as well. For him, teaching students to earn hefty packages to live comfortable life is a limited purpose of life. With impressive human values, excellent international education and remarkable leadership qualities, he believes students could do tremendous service to the society while also leading a cozy life.
Being an Islamica oriented school, Insight is trying to give equal emphasis on development of character and values as on academics and knowledge. It has designed special programs for inculcating truthfulness, love, brotherhood, humanity, respect, honesty, service to poor and needy and other such values.
Students learn everything from mathematic to language with a sense of purpose and a mission to serve humanity. Through the sports and activities, they are being taught the values of team spirit, brotherhood, cooperation, support and discipline. In addition, teachers inculcate a strong faith in Almighty God and a sense of accountability among students.
While there are other international schools in the city with CBSE syllabus, Insight offers IGCSE (Cambridge) syllabus which has over 70 different subjects along with academically sound evaluation mechanism. Teachers at Insight are trained to teach every lesson of every subject with strong integration of values and principles of Islam.
Insight’s technologically well-equipped air conditioned classrooms feature smart boards and a pleasant ambiance. Within a short span of two years, the school bagged two prestigious awards - Olympiad and International School Award (ISA); thanks to our qualified and experienced staff selected after rigorous multi-round testing, reacts Ms. Khadeja with a smile.
When asked why she enrolled her child in Insight, Dr. Hajra from Tolichowki Colony said she missed the opportunity to learn Arabic while being a convent school student and now wanted to ensure her child learns Arabic and Urdu along with other necessary subjects and values. A growing number of educated Muslims who have succeeded in life have similar thoughts and they think this kind of education would make a huge difference in the later stages of life.
As Islam and Islamic teachings have been gaining significance worldwide, especially post 9/11, there’s plenty of scope for schools like Insight to prosper and flourish. People from other communities in India are also interested in universal teachings of Islam. Better management and quality assurance in such schools would attract more students from other communities as well.