The Global Islamic Educational Space: Problems And Prospects Of Its Organization

Abstract

The article examines the development of Islamic education systems and their involvement in the formation of the world educational space in the era of general globalization and information technologies. The possibility of developing its own global educational space as a form of overcoming the spread of a destructive context and a means of preventing the spread of extremist ideologies, which will exclude or limit the emergence of information resources containing materials of an extremist nature. The use of information technology in Islamic education is at different levels in Muslim countries, and it is too early to talk about a single Islamic educational space, as in Europe. However, the creation of such a system is not only theoretical, but also of practical importance for Muslims. In the information society – where the society, whose goal is to create space for maximum personal development and the formation of new relationships in the system of value orientations, contributes to the simplification of the process of communication and obtaining information content through operating systems based on open access. The availability and openness of information contributes to the development of both the dialogue of civilizations and the formation of new forms of educational resources, while there is a risk of losing one's own cultural uniqueness in the flow of mass information and unification.

Keywords: Information society, educational space, Islamic education

Introduction

The world is changing before our eyes, we live in the era of global transformations, and this is reflected in all spheres of human activity, so, already a modern social structure is unthinkable without communication technologies, which are developing at an incredible speed, expanding the audience of users and its functionality (Zianshina, 2014).

Transformations did not bypass the education system, new forms and types of education emerged, the methods and techniques of teaching were updated, taking into account the use of innovations and novelties in education. The changes also affected the interpersonal relations of the participants of education (between the teacher and the student), transforming them from authoritarian ones into partnerships, where the student is assigned the role of an active participant in shaping his/her own – new – space of the future student. And, if earlier these changes were of a recommendatory nature, then in modern times this is inevitable. And those branches of education that were not ready, or for a number of reasons avoided being included in the educational process of the reformation, now they are forced to construct educational space in a “here and now” mode in a short time.

It should be noted that the prerequisites for such massive transformations arose in the process of the formation of a new post-industrial period and entailed the formation of a number of new value orientations and, as a result, social transformation influencing intercultural and intracultural interaction. The issue of adaptability of classical/conservative education systems and the forms of their implementation in the new conditions continues to be at the forefront on all continents. Thus, in the Muslim world, this problem is solved in different countries in their own way, taking into account the tasks of education, the timing of the implementation of training programs, the experience of cross-cultural dialogue between the educational systems of Europe and the Middle East. In the article, we consider the prospects for modernization of Islamic educational systems and their active integration into the space of the information society, thereby forming their own global educational space.

Problem Statement

The need for the development of the global Islamic educational space, we believe, is that its formation will help stabilize information flows in modern conditions where the threat of extremist movements and their increased influence on the formation of consciousness casts doubt on the ethical and ideological values, both Islamic and universal. Confronting extremist ideologies is one of the most important tasks facing the world community, since the activities of these organizations discredit Islam and all its followers. The threat of the spread of extremist sentiments and their subsequent transformation into radical movements affected not only individual countries and regions, but the whole world as a whole. The modern social fabric depends on communication technologies, which are developing at an incredible speed, expanding their functionality the audience of users. In this situation, the information space is a zone of increased risks, where one can find all sorts of sources with both extremist content and those of a humanistic nature, which radical movements use by spreading their inhuman content through the local network. In this regard, an optimal solution is needed to prevent the penetration of distorted information into free access or an alternative system that provides meaningful information that meets the challenges of the time in the era of the information society. In our understanding, the main role in countering these organizations lies with the education and enlightenment system, as well as in consolidating the efforts of international Islamic educational organizations and creating a single openly educational resource with reliable information about Islamic culture and its heritage.

Research Questions

In the course of the research, the author put forward a hypothesis that in the process of creating the global Islamic educational space as a platform for communication and interaction of different-level educational organizations, and a means of preventing the spread of extremist ideologies. Thus, the use of educational technologies of the European model can be successfully transmitted to the system of Islamic education, taking into account cultural characteristics and goals, from which several tasks were formulated:

  • To study the state of the world educational space, highlighting main directions in its development. In this way, to trace the level of involvement of Islamic education in interaction with international educational systems.
  • To analyze information educational resources for the use of the term "Global Islamic Educational Space" on the Internet, having studied their content and the level of organization of educational activities.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to show the prospects for the development of the global Islamic educational space as a system for countering the spread of destructive content. Also to show the advantages of using world educational technologies in the teaching process in the Islamic education system.

Research Methods

The methodology of the article is complex, using general scientific methods such as analysis and synthesis, comparison and analogy. They allowed in the process of work to compare the existing systems of education and identify the main trends and points of contact, as well as problem areas in the educational space. The object of the research is the transforming state of the modern educational space, and its subject is the global Islamic educational space.

Findings

Information Society (hereinafter IS) is a term “legally enshrined in documents at the meeting of the UNESCO World Scientific Forum and the International Council for Science, held in Budapest in November 2003. The main task of the IS has become the formation of a space in which the main position is occupied by the transformation of the knowledge resource, its development and distribution. Thus, the document reflects the concept of the knowledge-based society is an innovative society based on the concept of lifelong learning throughout life (UNESCO, 2003). Later, trends were developed at the basis of the functional activity of the knowledge society is the ability to find, produce, process, transform, disseminate and use information in order to obtain and apply the knowledge necessary for human development. It draws on the concept of a society that promotes empowerment, which includes the notions of plurality, integration, solidarity and participation (UNESCO, 2003).

The humanistic potential inherent in the very idea of IO as a society based on knowledge implies a change in the environment (Zianshina, 2014) and the formation of new forms of relations between the subjects of interaction in education, taking into account their culturological characteristics. The formation of IS is based on the comprehensive implementation of information technologies and, as one of the results of rethinking the educational space, more adapted to the requirements for the preparation of the socially active individual, capable of differentiation into society in the context of the global information space. These and other ideas were presented at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva (UNESCO, 2003), where, among other things, 4 immutable principles of IS were approved: cultural diversity; equal access to education; universal access to information in the public domain; freedom of expression (UNESCO, 2004).

These provisions are designed for the worldwide practice of introducing telecommunication technologies into the educational system, provided by the Bologna Process. The final creation of a unified space for higher education was to be completed by 2010 and organically develop in the conditions of IS. 48 countries participating in the Agreement have reformed their higher education systems, switching to a two-stage system of training specialists. However, not all states participated in the signing of the Agreement; many countries have retained their own national educational systems, as opposed to the Western program. The Islamic world, conservatively protecting its cultural characteristics and fearing that under the pressure of the Western model, the importance of the religious/spiritual component in the social structure will be devalued, has taken an oppositional position.

However, in the scholarly discourse on the problems of intercultural dialogue, adherents of the ideas that for the successful development of civilizations, not a process of equalizing all systems under a single template is needed, but the preservation of integrity and reasonable borrowing of everything that will be valuable for the national education system arised. Later, progressive Muslim thinkers also came to the idea of interaction, so, according to Zia Gokalpa, development is based on the synthesis of national culture with international civilization (as cited in Merad, 1977). He noted that there should be two main components in education: upbringing and training. The first component is aimed at fostering national self-awareness, and the second – at the contemporaneity. Gokalpa states: While we do not need Europe in terms of culture and education, we desperately need it in terms of technology and teaching methods (as cited in Merad, 1977). Some scholars were skeptical about Gokalpa's views, but it should be noted that borrowing, albeit selective, from the Western model of the educational system is better than completely abandoning it.

The fear of influence and opposition of the East to the West is the main problem of misunderstanding and rejection of another culture. The process of recognizing and creating space for dialogue and further cooperation requires some effort on both sides. Overcoming cognitive dissonance in accepting the “other”, not as alien and hostile, but as equal but different, will allow one to better understand and accept the strengths and weaknesses of the other, including awareness of one’s own positions and limitations. Dialogue promotes cooperation and prevents a clash of civilizations. “Mutual awareness of differences,” writes Tibi (1999), “does not have to lead to contention. It can also lead to mutual understanding, with a clear will to live in peace with each other. Cultural dialogue in pursuit of common values, that is, international morality, is more promising than the imposition of the universalism of one civilization on another” (p. 83).

In support of the introduction of modern Western technologies in the global space, and their application in educational systems as an urgent direction for the development of culture spoke Director General of the Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO, 2015) Dr. Abdulaziz Osman Al-Tuwaijiri. At the meeting of the First ISESCO Conference of Ministers of Education "Ways of development and activation of joint Islamic educational actions" (October 2016, Tunisia), in his report, Abdulaziz Osman Al-Tuwaijiri emphasized that "one of the important achievements of the conference was the adoption of an updated version of "Strategies for promoting education in the Islamic world", which takes into account the rapid changes in various fields of education and training related to educational issues in the member states of the organization. He also stated that the updated strategy is aimed at developing the education sector through improving teaching methods based on performance indicators and quality assessment, as well as on the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the educational process. The results of the conference convince in the introduction of a conceptual change in the Islamic education system and its inclusion in the global educational space, taking into account the basic requirements of the information society and the organization of education for sustainable development. Quoting the document: “Considering all these vital requirements in a rapidly changing world, ISESCO underlines the urgent need for a new innovative and forward-looking vision of education systems in the Islamic world, based on the Islamic projection of the predetermined mission of humanity on Earth and the relationship that they must maintain using their resources based on the concepts of Trust (Amana) and Governance (Istikhlaf). The aim is to transform the role of education in achieving sustainable development, taking into account current and future developments and requirements by adopting approaches and curricula based on cutting-edge scientific results and using mechanisms to enable Islamic countries to participate in knowledge societies and contribute into the production of knowledge. Thus, noting their participation in the writing of the cultural history of mankind in its new form (ISESCO, 2015). The document also states that ISESCO confirms its readiness to respond to declarations, commitments, recommendations and resolutions adopted at international and regional conferences and forums on education, of which the latest at that time was the Incheon Declaration on Education by 2030" (Zianshina, 2019).

The application of information technologies in Islamic education is at different levels in Muslim countries, and it is too early to talk about a single Islamic educational space, as in Europe. However, the creation of such a system is not only theoretical in nature, but also of practical importance for Muslims, settled on all continents of our planet. The possibility of obtaining education online and using individual training programs, educational cases without compulsory attendance at educational organizations are becoming popular all over the world. The Islamic teaching system is not an outsider to these trends. A number of leading universities (Soas University Of London https://www.soas.ac.uk, The Islamic Online University https://islamiconlineuniversity.com/ и др.) are already successfully operating with the help of advanced technologies online. There are also educational organizations that successfully use information technologies in the educational process.

What situation can we observe in the issue of integrating Islamic education into existing open educational resources? If we look at the most popular learning platforms, such as Coursera, ALISON, Open Culture, Open YALE Courses, Zooniverse, edX.org, etc., we see a similar picture, on the platforms, at best, courses on the history of Islamic culture or the history of countries of the Muslim world are presented, it is extremely rare to find specialized programs. So, on one of the leading online platforms Cousera, one can find just over 40 courses related to Islam, and this is with user requests of 5,000,000.

Summarizing the above, it should be noted that the potential of open educational technologies has not been fully used. If there is a successful experience of using information technologies, information about these programs is fragmentary and not known to a wide audience, there is also no active interaction between educational organizations, they are distanced from each other, the professional environment is limited by regional frameworks and rare specialized events.

The creation of a unified social and information system with access to reliable and relevant information, in the era of the emergence of the information society, is becoming one of the priority tasks in the formation of the society of the future. Combining the efforts of leading Islamic educational organizations and the professional community in order to educate and popularize the humanistic values ​​of Islamic culture will be aimed at countering extremist ideas. Modern technologies make it possible to successfully solve this issue, especially taking into account the experience of Western colleagues in organizing unified open educational spaces on the Internet.

Along with the websites of official organizations, such as representative offices of spiritual administrations and specialized educational organizations, foundations, mass media, there are unofficial information resources positioning themselves as educational sites with Islamic content. In 2019, we carried out an analysis (by formal criteria, without taking into account the content component) of sites positioning themselves as global Islamic educational resources in order to identify their compliance with the needs of the modern information space.

Let's take just a few sites as the most illustrative example:

  • Global Islamic Education & Research Foundation-GIERF;
  • Global Islamic Education.

Information about the organization Global Islamic Education & Research Foundation-GIERF is found only on the social network Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/gierf/), the link (www.gierf.com) indicated as the official address, leads an advertisement for the domain sale.

Another link, also referring the user to the information resource (http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q&esrc=s&source=web&cd=12&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CF0QFjAL&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ierf.me%2F&ei=xYGEU-WxH8nNkgWHkIDADw&usg= AFQjCNESU518f2-clq-VuYk78p1Cbc4cWQ&bvm=bv.67720277%2Cd.dGI) leads to a furniture catalog. s not possible to determine the organization carrying out educational activities. The content is copied from the personal page of the speaker Saifuddin Belal from Riyadh (https://www.facebook.com/groups/islamicask/permalink/2485957434790393/)

The official page of Global Islamic Education is located at the link https://globalislamic.education/, just as in the first case, it is not possible to determine the organization that carries out educational activities. The content is positioned as educational, in the form of mini-cases in the areas of Islamic disciplines in a closed format that cannot be viewed without registration.

It can be seen from these examples that no one is officially responsible for the content of information portals, i.e. their creation and functioning can be carried out by individuals pursuing their own interests. The enlightenment of the interested user in matters of religious education and the culture of Islam is undertaken by unofficial organizations with a dubious reputation, at the time when this responsible role should be assumed by educational organizations together with the professional community.

Conclusion

Based on the hypothesis put forward, that in the process of creating a global Islamic educational space, as a means of preventing the spread of extremist ideologies, we can conclude that the development of a single open reference and information resource, taking into account educational innovations, will make it possible to control the content broadcast to the Internet by the audience, the responsibility for which will be borne by educational organizations. That will allow excluding or limiting the emergence of information resources containing materials of an extremist nature.

It should also be noted that the development of cross-cultural dialogue in the field of education between the West and the East will have a positive effect on the spread of the knowledge resource about Islamic culture, thus, in the work of Vasiliev and Sukhorukova (2004), it is rightly noted that the educational sphere is inherently interdisciplinary and combines at least two directions: education is viewed both as a subject of pedagogy and as a process of broadcasting culture, taking place in the new conditions of a unified information environment.

Acknowledgments

The work was carried out within the framework of the project of the Russian Science Foundation No. 18-78-10001 "Educational space and anthropological practices of the ancient and modern city".

References

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17 May 2021

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Zianshina, R. I. (2021). The Global Islamic Educational Space: Problems And Prospects Of Its Organization. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1783-1790). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.236