Empowerment through Education

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What if the cure for cancer was trapped inside the mind of someone who could not afford an education?

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What if the cure for cancer was trapped inside the mind of someone who could not afford an education?

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What if the cure for cancer was trapped inside the mind of someone who could not afford an education?

The social and economic challenges of recent years have focused attention on the availability of skills and learning opportunities for the young. Formal secondary schooling is still the most effective way to develop the skills needed for work and life. Despite a global increase in enrolment numbers, the gross enrolment ratio for secondary school was just 52% in India, leaving millions of young people to face life without the foundation skills they need to earn a decent living. Furthermore, there is major gender parity in literacy rates because girls face larger obstacles and are more likely to be pulled out of school. Although the situation is improving, there are still significant gaps in the education system in our country.

Why focus on education?

Education is instrumental in promoting equal opportunities and higher income levels amongst the entire population. Economic growth, per se, does not necessarily imply the reduction in economic inequality. Combating poverty necessitates having equal opportunities in economic activities and more equitable income distribution while education on its own cannot solve the problem of economic inequality, it is one important tool in promoting equal opportunities for all, including children from marginalized social or economic backgrounds and women.

On a societal level, studies have shown that communities with a high proportion of educated mothers have less health problems. In addition, the number of schooling years contributes positively to empowering women and raising their awareness regarding childbearing, personal and community health (Oxal 1997: 4). Thus, education may contribute to lower infant and maternal mortality rates. Furthermore, education promotes greater women’s participation in the labour market and increases the likelihood that their children will participate in formal education. And considering the devastation caused by HIV/AIDS, women’s education is a key to reducing the spread of the disease by educating women in family planning and reproductive rights (World Bank 2009). In conclusion, women’s education can contribute to social and cultural changes that have a positive impact on the health and livelihood of the community

The question, then, arises – What is the role of faith in diminishing the gap in education?

Education has been greatly emphasized in Islam. The first verse of the Qur’an to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) indicates the importance of education in Islam; the verse started with the word “Iqr’a”, it is a command that means ‘read’ in Arabic, and that implies the concepts of ‘learning’, ‘exploring’ and ‘seeking enlightenment'. The importance of education has been emphasized repeatedly in the Qur’an and the hadith, i.e., the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), which are the sources of guidance for Muslims. In Islam seeking education is obligatory for all Muslims, male or female, and knowledge is considered to be the path towards greater closeness to Allah.

Furthermore, the principles of charity in Islam, Zakat and Sadaqah offer a way through which Muslims can support education programmes that will empower the disadvantaged sections of society.

Islam has a holistic view of human development, which views education and knowledge as central. It encourages the acquisition of knowledge and its use for the benefit of humanity. Moreover, the principles of justice, equality and equity are important in Islam; by extension, this entails acquiring knowledge, wisdom and skills to carry out cheap prom dresses one’s duties. While knowledge is needed to fulfill religious and spiritual responsibilities, it is also highly important for achieving social and economic development, for the wellbeing of the community, and for ensuring harmony, freedom and human rights.

As a Muslim Faith Based Organization, KZCT believes that focusing on education, something that has a long term impact, is one of the best ways to achieve both social and economic progress.

Sources: UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Islamic Perspectives on Education by Mamoun Abuarqub