Islamic Perspectives on Education

“Read! In the Name of your Lord who has created (all that exists).” (Qur’an, 96: 1) 

Author: Mamoun Abuarqub
Country: International
Category: Faith Perspective, Child Protection


According to the 2008 UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report, at the end of 1999 less than one-third of the 800 million children under the age of six benefited from early childhood education. Of the 113 million children without access to primary education schooling, 60 percent of these were girls. Furthermore, some 880 million adults, the majority being women, were illiterate.

Additionally, excluding the United States and Europe, approximately one in three countries in 2005 did not “constitutionally guarantee” a right for “free and compulsory primary education”. Countries have achieved progress since 2000, but much work
remains to meet the goals of “education for all” and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals1 (MDGs) as demonstrated by the following 2005 statistics: The number of children not enrolled in school is 72 million; global gross enrolment in secondary education is at 66%; approximately 774 million adults, the majority women (64%) lack basic literacy and numeracy skills; while gender disparities in education at the primary level were eliminated among 63% percent of the reporting countries from 2000-2005, only 37% had eliminated gender disparity at the secondary level (UNESCO 2008: 13).

There are, therefore, still significant gaps in educational systems and opportunities around the world. The question, then, arises –Why do non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international declarations and conventions, and governments tout the importance of increasing global education levels in the fight against poverty? What is the role of faith in diminishing the gap in education? The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the importance of education in processes of development from Islamic perspectives.


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