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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Muslim school told to improve
Imam Muhammad Zakariya school
Inspectors questioned the quality of education at the school
A privately-run Muslim school in Scotland has been given six months to comply with a series of recommendations or face closure.

School inspectors have issued a highly critical report on the Imam Muhammad Zakariya school in Dundee.

They said it was not fulfilling its aim of educating pupils in line with the standards of the Scottish system.

The school said it welcomed the report and was confident of meeting the requirements.

Effectively, the school has six months from now to address the issues raised by inspectors.

The secondary school, which opened in 2001, caters for 20 girls and inspectors found that for two weeks at a time they were confined to the inside of a small building and garden.

The report also said:

  • the management of the school was unsatisfactory

  • the quality of learning was unsatisfactory in all classes

  • the resources for boarders were unsatisfactory

  • and all staff apart from the headteacher were under the age of 20.

The report stated: "The quality of learning and teaching was very poor, both in Islamic studies and secular subjects.

"Pupils had little chance of developing the abilities necessary to function as effective citizens in a multi-cultural society."

It said the school was not fulfilling its aim of educating pupils in line with the standards of the Scottish education system.

The HMIE report actually again strengthens our argument for state-funded Muslim schools
Osama Saeed
Campaign for State Muslim Schools in Scotland
The report also found that those running the school had expertise in Islam but not in teaching and learning or caring for young people.

And, despite having been informed by HM Inspectors in September 2002 that the quality of education and care was not good enough, the school had "failed to effect significant changes".

The report went on: "Considerable extra money had been spent on improving the building but not on appointing staff who could improve the quality of education and care.

"The manager and headteacher had not paid sufficient heed to the need for the pupils to have a high quality and broad education which would allow them to attain their full potential."

Inspectors have made a number of recommendations to improve standards saying "learning and teaching should be improved as an urgent priority".

The school is thought to have 16 boarding and four day pupils,.

Inspectors did however find that the pupils were looked after by "well-meaning staff" and that the school had a friendly atmosphere.

'Time off'

School manager Zuber Latif Karim said: "We believe that the recommendations given by the Scottish Executive are for the betterment of the school.

"Therefore, we will keep on fulfilling all the conditions and recommendations put forward to us by the Scottish Executive."

A private Islamic school in Glasgow was also criticised last year after an inspection by education officials.

Learning and teaching at Iqra Academy, on the south side of Glasgow, was said to be of poor quality.

The Campaign for State Muslim Schools in Scotland, a coalition of Muslim organisations, mosques, parents and teachers from across Scotland, said its cause was strengthened by the report.

Osama Saeed, the campaign's media officer, said: ""The Muslim community in Scotland craves a school that they can call their own, reflecting their beliefs and values.

"In their pursuit of this, some individuals have tried setting up private institutions to fill this gaping vacuum.

"However, due to the unstable nature of this, the qualified Muslim teachers, of whom there are many, have not been attracted to teach at these schools.

"So the HMIE report actually again strengthens our argument for state-funded Muslim schools."

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