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Advancing Education in Muslim Societies

Explore education systems and practices in Muslim societies and the Muslim diaspora with scholars across fields and disciplines who will share their research on education and its implications for global societies by attending this 6th annual symposium.

Join us to foster and disseminate groundbreaking research on the role of education in individual and societal change in diverse societies.

The symposium draws proposals by researchers from across fields and disciplines (e.g., education, human development, history, political science, public affairs, religious studies, gender studies, and sociology) in formal and non-formal as well as governmental and non-governmental sectors.

The terms “Muslim” and “education” are defined broadly to be inclusive. By “Muslim,” we mean any self-identifying Muslim individuals, institutions, communities, and societies and their roles in experiencing and shaping education as well as researchers interested in Muslim societies. “Education” includes the pedagogies, practices, and policies, as well as the conditions and status of human development and curriculum as they relate to Muslim societies and communities.

Symposium Themes:

  1. Advancing the study of curricula for reform in global contexts
  2. Children, youth, and schooling
  3. Higher Education and Teacher preparation in Muslim societies
  4. Pedagogy and Leadership
  5. Advancing education in Muslim Societies: empirical evidence
  6. Shared spaces and citizenship education 

Who Should Attend: Scholars and students interested in education in Muslim societies, training, and human development

When: Friday, November 11: 5:00pm-7:30pm (Opening reception)
Saturday, November 12: 8:30am-5:00pm
Sunday, November 13: 8:30am-2:00pm

Program Schedule Overview

Friday, November 11: 5:00pm-7:30pm
Saturday, November 12: 8:30am-5:00pm
Sunday, November 13: 8:30am-2:00pm

Program Schedule

Friday November 11, 2022

Reception 5:00-6:00 pm

Greetings 6:00-6:30 pm 

  • Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Dean, School of Education, American University
  • Dr. Mehdi Heravi, Board of Trustees Member, American University
  • Dr. Hisham Altalib, President, International Institute for Islamic Thought
  • Dr. Ahmed Alwani, Vice President, International Institute for Islamic Thought

6:30-7:30 pm Keynote Address
Nuraan Davids
“Universities in Muslim societies: A call for resistance and responsibility”

A university is at risk when it fails to see itself as a place of argumentation, resistance, and responsibility. For universities in Muslim societies, this risk is compounded when one considers the ethico-religious responsibilities placed on what it means to be educated. In this presentation, I argue for a preparedness to being reflectively open to new considerations and fusions of knowledge; a pedagogy of resistance and dissent that could enhance intellectualism; and a responsiveness to broader social malaises as a fulfilment of education as a human responsibility.

Saturday November 12, 2022

8:30 - 10:00 am

Panel 1: Advancing the study of curricula for reform in global contexts

10:00 - 10:30 am

Coffee Break

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Panel 2: Children, youth, and schooling

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch break

1:00 - 2:30 pm

Panel 3: Higher Education and Teacher preparation in Muslim societies

2:30 - 3:00 pm


3:00 - 4:30 pm

Panel 4: Pedagogy and Leadership

4:30 - 5:00 pm

Wrap up

Sunday November 13, 2022

8:30 - 10:00 am

Panel 5: Advancing Education in Muslim Societies: Empirical Evidence 

10:00 - 10:30 am

Coffee Break

10:30 - 12:00 am

Panel 6: Shared spaces and citizenship education

12:00 - 12:30 am

Wrap up

12:30 - 1:30 am


* If you cannot attend all sessions, recordings will be made available afterward.

Saturday, November 12 | 8:30 - 10:00 am

Session 1: Advancing the Study of Curricula for Reform in Global Contexts

A Study of Curriculum Reform Needs for Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Muslim Societies in Northern Nigeria (Joining virtually)

For Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to provide competencies and skills that contribute to economic development, self-reliance and peace in Muslim societies, it must be reformed periodically in response to market needs and societal values. This study uses content analysis to get inferences from curriculum reform needs that were directly or implicitly stated by concerned Nigerian scholars in a sample of documents written from 2006 to 2021. As a research technique, content analysis provides new insights, increases an understanding of particular phenomena, or informs policy making and practical actions. In this study, content analysis of 14 documents purposely sampled from journal, newspaper, articles, and book chapters by Nigerian scholars concerned with TVET issues, was made. Result of the analysis was tabulated for easy reference.

Results of the analysis reveals that the curriculum for TVET at various levels of education in Nigeria, which applies to the Muslim societies mostly found in northern Nigeria, does not adequately meet the current needs of the labour market and the communities it was meant to serve. Furthermore, its formulation or review requires the participation of community members as well as the inclusion of diverse societal goals and values. The policy implication for this study is a recommendation for a community-based curriculum that will supplement the national TVET curriculum and meet the needs of the Muslim societies.

Sa'idu Sulaiman is a retired Economics Lecturer and Director of Quality Assurance at Sa'adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso, Kano and is now the Director and founder of Penmark Academy for Lifelong Learning, Kano, Nigeria. He is the author of many books cutting across different disciplines, they include Researchers' Companion, The Making of Economics, What Matters Most and The Desperate Migrant.

Science Culture in the Muslim World and Its Implications for Pedagogy and Policy–An Educational Approach (Joining virtually)

“Science culture” and “scientific literacy” are important but largely under-studied areas that have crucial implications for both education (curricula and pedagogy) and policy-making and policy implementation in the Muslim world and beyond.

We led an effort to assess the state of science culture and scientific literacy in the Muslim world both qualitatively and quantitatively by coordinating a Task Force on the Culture of Science in the Muslim World between 2017 and 2019. The Task Force assembled a group of scholars - scientists, policymakers, educationists, communicators, and journalists, who wrote essays on various aspects of the topic. The Task Force also conducted an online survey of scientific literacy and science culture in the Muslim world; it was completed by over 3500 respondents (in three languages - English, Arabic, and Urdu) to fuel and substantiate the views of the Task Force members. The essays, the survey results, the analyses, and a general overview constituted the report from the Task Force.

This paper presents a brief overview of the conclusions that were drawn from the work of the Task Force.

The general results of the science literacy part of the survey showed that the average respondent scored at least as high as the average of many OCED countries where such surveys are routinely conducted. Since our (online) audience is not random and is likely to represent more scientifically literate and well-connected individuals, we must conclude that this represents an upper bound on science literacy. In terms of 'attitudes towards science' the survey found a very interesting trend: those who filled the survey in their native language (Arabic or Urdu) were likely to hold more extreme positions than those who filled the survey in English.

Finally, on the science 'culture' part, which was measured via a set of statements designed to probe the extent to which respondents internalised the true essence of science (its goals and methods), we found some even more dramatic effects of the language in which the respondents took the survey: those who answered the survey in English (not their native language) had a diametrically opposite view to those who did that in Urdu/Arabic (their native language). This is quite an unexpected result and, if validated by additional studies, will have far-reaching consequences for both science education and media in the Muslim World.

Specifically, we believe that what the study captured are differences in the quality of education and exposure of these two populations within the Muslim World: - one, those who are well-educated, master the English language, and are conversant with English-speaking (scientific) media seem to understand the nature of science, and two, those who are educated in local languages and consume mostly local-language media and seem to misunderstand science and develop more extreme views on it. It is also worth noting here that, other than the language in which the survey was attempted, no other characteristic (education, wealth, etc.) seem to make much of a difference in measures of science literacy, attitudes, and culture.

These findings are preliminary at best and need to be properly evaluated and validated through more representative and rigorous surveys. However, at face value, this study’s results may have momentous implications for both education and media policy in the Muslim World as they imply our inability to communicate important scientific ideas and methods through local language educational and/or media content. This necessitates a deeper understanding and appreciation of what gets consumed in English and Arabic/Urdu language science classrooms and media and how to fix it.

Professor Nidhal Guessoum received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics/Astrophysics from the University of California at San Diego and spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has conducted research at several top centers in the USA and France, participated in dozens of conferences worldwide, and published over a hundred papers in major international journals. He has been at the American University of Sharjah, UAE, since 2000, where he has served as chair of the Physics Department, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, President of the Faculty Senate, and other roles. In 2022, he was named the Sheikha Nama Majid Al Qassimi Endowed Chair in Education Across Disciplines at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. Prof. Guessoum is the author of several books, including Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science (London: IB Tauris, 2010); The Story of the Universe (Arabic); The Determination of Lunar Crescent Months and the Islamic Calendar, and The Young Muslim’s Guide to Modern Science (Manchester, UK: Beacon Books, 2018). He has also co-edited two conference proceedings volumes on Islamic Astronomy (English and Arabic).

Dr. Athar Osama is the Founder and Executive Director of World Science Collaborative Ltd–a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of science in the developing world. He is also the founder and convenor of the Task Forces Initiative aimed at creating a conversation within the Muslim World on issues at the intersection science, society, and Islam which has produced 3 reports on Science at Universities (2015), Science and Islam (2016), and Culture of Science (2020). Dr. Osama is also the Principal Investigator of Holistic Science Teaching Project–an ambitious attempt to transform teaching of science in Muslim Classrooms. Dr. Osama holds a PhD in public policy focusing on science and innovation policy from Pardee- RAND Graduate School from Santa Monica, CA. Most recently, he was a Senior Science Advisor as Member (Science and ICT) at the Planning Commission for the Government of Pakistan. He is a Fellow of the NY-based World Technology Network (2011) and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (2013-2019).

Mapping Curriculum Standards Under SDG 4: The Case of Qatar (Joining virtually)

The Qatar National Vision 2030 lists an educated population as an outcome of its human development pillar. This includes its mission to sustainably meet the needs of this generation and future generations through improved educational curricula and programs that foster Qatari moral and ethical values and a sense of belonging and citizenship. This vision is guided by strong Islamic and family values, which are pivotal as Qatar identifies as an Arab and Islamic nation. Qatar is also a part of the global effort to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, which include similar concepts of global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity. These values are embedded in SDG 4, which aims to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all". With Qatar’s efforts to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as its expressed commitment to the Qatar National Vision 2030, there is a need for an evaluation tool to ensure that these goals are materializing in the public school education curriculum.

Thus, the purpose of this paper is to localize an evaluation tool to the Qatari context and to examine the extent that the public school curriculum in Qatar overlaps with the UN’s SDGs, particularly SDG 4. This mapping activity is critical to ensure Qatar’s curriculum reflects its goals through monitoring and qualitative assessment.

We will adapt the University of Auckland SDG Keywords Dictionary Project word list in order to gauge curriculum quality in Qatar. The word list is based on Elsevier’s SDG search query. While the keywords are relatively holistic, we aim to further include keywords that are informed by national regulations including the Qatar National Vision 2030 that address Qatar’s specific concerns including the emphasis on enhancing Arab and Islamic values and identity. MAXQDA will be used to conduct a content analysis. Our analysis will be restricted to public schools as the curricula working under centrally determined guidelines would demonstrate the progress accrued towards sustainable development in Qatar. The curriculum will be found through published documents on Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education website as well as documents collected directly from schools. The analysis used would provide a means of assessing the current state of the educational curricula in Qatar, which can be reused and revised in the future as the documents get updated. We expect that the results will highlight sustainable practices in Qatar as well as any gaps that can be addressed. We expect this to facilitate policy makers in their efforts to embed sustainable development practices into Qatar’s public school curriculum in order to achieve SDG 4. The keywords used may also be used and adapted by other countries, especially emerging and Islamic countries.

Noor Hamwy is a research assistant at the Educational Research Ce (ERC) at Qatar University. Her research experience has been in international affairs, Islam, and education at various universities and organizations including the University of Washington Near Eastern Languages & Civilization Department and the World Affairs Council of Seattle. Noor graduated from the University of Washington where she received a double major in Economics and Public Health. She is a second-year MPP student at Hamad bin Khalifa University.

Islamic Education and Multi-religious Citizenship: A Curriculum Analysis of Religious Studies Programs at Indonesian State Islamic Universities (Joining virtually)

Education systems in Muslim-majority countries have begun to address questions of multi-religious citizenship even if their focus squarely remains on Islamic identity formation and self-affirmation. Indonesia's state Islamic higher education system is a productive site for researching conceptualizations of religious diversity. The state system's long history of intellectual openness and instructional innovation has made it an integral element of Indonesian civil-pluralist Islam. Specifically, the state system's Religious Studies programs (Perbandingan Agama) have promoted an inclusive view of religious diversity and fostered interreligious cooperation. In the period of Indonesia's democratic transformation and consolidation, however, the programs' contributions to interreligious harmony have been complicated by the broader societal debate over the future of Islam in Indonesia. This debate takes place in a context of increasing accusations of heterodoxy. Moreover, challenges such as competition for funds and the program's negative image among outsiders have given rise to curricular initiatives rethinking the field's status and role in the context of state Islamic higher education.

A curriculum analysis of Religious Studies programs at thirteen state Islamic universities and colleges across several Indonesian provinces, the article examines the conceptualizations of religious pluralism that inform the study of religion in these programs. Following Popkewitz, the study views the curriculum as a site of social interests and conflicts where political and epistemological norms vie for legitimacy. Therefore, interviews with program administrators and instructors about the curriculum and course design process complement the analysis. Finally, the data is discussed in relation to 1) differing approaches to the study of religion and varying patterns of active engagement and interaction across religious lines; 2) the history of religious studies, which from its beginnings in the 1960s has included openly theological and dialogical elements; 3) the ongoing process of institutional transformation into full-fledged universities; and 4) Indonesia's increasingly polarized public debate over religious pluralism and the proper role and function of the State Islamic Higher Education system.

The article suggests that the programs' relative success in defending their place in the transforming field of Islamic state higher education in Indonesia is not simply due to its proponent's willingness to creative pedagogical innovation. Nor is it Muslim educators' ability to justify their inclusive views under reference to foundational Islamic concepts such as human dignity, equality, and social justice. Instead, what stands out is that defenders of Religious

Studies programs increasingly assert the public priority of their vision of Islam under reference to the Pancasila, Indonesia's foundational state philosophy and its de-facto civil religion—a strategy also found in other sectors of Indonesian society in response to hardliner’s infringement on the public sphere. By highlighting how educators draw on the Pancasila as a source of cultural legitimacy and power to defend their position, the article contributes to a fuller understanding of the relationship between Islamic and broader cultural norms for advancing multi-religious citizenship in Islamic higher education in Indonesia and beyond.

Florian Pohl is Associate Professor in Religion at Emory University’s Oxford College. A native of Hamburg, Germany, Pohl earned his PhD in Religion from Temple University, Philadelphia, in 2007, after completing an MA in Religion at Temple in 1998 and a Theology Diploma at Universität Hamburg in 2001. His research examines publicly and politically influential expressions of Islam in contemporary Indonesia. A focus of his work has been the role of Islamic educational institutions in Indonesia’s process of democratic transition and consolidation. He is the author of Islamic Education and the Public Sphere: Today’s Pesantren in Indonesia (New York: Waxmann, 2009).

Ahmad Afnan Anshori is a lecturer in Religious Studies at State Islamic University (UIN) Walisongo, Semarang Indonesia. He is currently a Ph.D. researcher in Empirical and Practical Religious Studies at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands focusing on religion and ecology. He earned his first Masters in Comparative Religion from CRCS Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, in 2004 and second Masters in Human Rights Education from Curtin University, Perth, in 2009. He also holds a Bachelor in Islamic Education from the Islamic University of Indonesia, Yogyakarta, in 2000. His research interests focus on issues of religion and ecology, religion and cross-cultural studies, Islamic education, and human rights education.

Gender Bias in Bangladeshi School Textbooks: Not Just a Matter of Politics or Growing Influence of Islamist (Joining virtually)

Improved access to female secondary school is widely perceived to reduce gender inequality in a wide range of socio-economic outcomes in developing countries. However, schools per se can reinforce patriarchal gender roles through hidden curriculum, especially gender-biased textbooks. This study critically reflects on the ongoing controversy over Islamization of textbooks by a secular government in Bangladesh. We have critically reviewed contents of textbooks used at the secondary education level across three education mediums in Bangladesh - secular school, recognized (i.e. Aliyah) madrasah and unrecognized (i.e. Quami) madrasah- with a focus on gender stereotypes. For comparison purposes, contents of older textbooks are contrasted with revised editions that are based on new national educational policy. We apply quantitative content analysis technique to analyze 1,507 pages of 8 textbooks in total. Based on a review of the emerging evidence on gender stereotypes in textbook contents, we argue that gender bias was widespread in government-recognized textbooks long before radical Islamic groups publicly demanded changes to the secular school curriculum. All Bangladeshi school textbooks continue to suffer from a pro-male bias regardless of whether they are based on a secular or religious curriculum. Overall female representation is consistently low –two thirds (i.e. 62.8%) of the characters used in textbooks are male. Besides, there is hardly any improvement in the exclusion/invisibility of female characters over time. Nonetheless, Bangladesh’s experience suggests that politicization of the debate on what children should learn in school can make future reforms much harder to achieve.

Kazi Mukit is a PhD student at Boston University. He holds a BA1 in Development Studies from the University of Dhaka and a MA from the University of Malaya in the same discipline. His research interests include Education, Gender, Religion and Migration. His most recent works are published in PLoS ONE and Journal of Biosocial Science.


Saturday, November 12 | 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session 2: Children, Youth, and Schooling

Eating together: A Field Study from Berlin's Islamic Kindergarten (Joining virtually)

Doings and sayings, performed oftentimes unnoticed, make the everyday go by smoothly. An especially effective type of practices are eating practices because they are performed continuously. We eat to survive, to experience through our senses the taste of the world, we eat to create community and we eat as devotional acts. People working in educational settings play a vital role in the reproduction of eating practices. From the early childhood years on, the basis of our eating practices are set in the different situations in which we learn how to eat. In the context of early childhood education food plays a vital role. What children eat and how they eat is coined by different factors. For example, in Berlin’s kindergarten, food can be veggi, halal or intercultural. In my contribution, I show how educators working in primary education create a space in which they pass on eating practices. In this process, food and ways of eating are a medium of their own convictions in relation to those of the dominant discourses around “the good meal”.

Leonie Stenske, MA is scientific staff at the junior research group "Theology in Context: Science and Society“ at the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology at Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany. Her doctoral thesis revolves around eating practices at Islamic kindergarten. At the heart of her research interest are continuities and changes of practices in the light of intergenerational knowledge transmission.

Canadian Islamic Schools and the Development of Muslim Youth’s Identities (Joining virtually)

Parents make choices for their kids every single day, choices about food, clothes, books, sports, screen time, games, etc. One of the biggest choices that parents have to make is which school their children will attend. Schools are the first and most prominent socialization site for children outside of their family unit. It is where children learn to develop their own identity and how to relate to others. In Canada, an increasing number of Muslim parents choose to send their children to Islamic schools. Due to the current political climate and the many stereotypes that Muslims have to challenge and navigate on a daily basis, many parents view Islamic schools as safe spaces where children get to freely explore and construct their own identities.

However, given schools’ importance in children’s socialization, faith-based schools in general and Islamic schools in particular have come under public scrutiny and suspicion as ethnic enclaves that putatively create a ghettoized population. For example, American author Amy Gutmann (1996) argues that all cultural or faith-based schools promote a “separatist multicultural perspective” and that they are “designed primarily to sustain the self-esteem of students on the basis of their membership in a separatist culture” (as cited in Zine, 2009, 42). Meanwhile, Canadian journalist Lois Sweet (1997) argues that most faith-based schools emphasize the differences between religions, which hinders students’ integration into the wider society and accentuates their “otherness.” Popular media amplifies those criticisms where Muslim schools are portrayed as “always already sectarian, partial and exceptional”, in contrast to public schools, which are imagined as “always already universal, impartial and normal” (Kymlicka, 2019, 973).

Despite these fears and suspicions, there are few studies that examine the graduates of Islamic schools. This research examines the outcome of these schools, which is their graduates and the relationship between Islamic education in Canada and Muslim youth identity development and integration into Canadian society. Through the lens of rooted cosmopolitanism, I aim to explore how those Muslim youth conceptualize their multifaceted identities after graduating from the Islamic school system. Rooted Cosmopolitanism as a theory recognizes that individuals have a multitude of overlapping identities that go beyond the traditional understanding of space and nationality. Rooted Cosmopolitanism also acknowledges that attachments to particular communities might be a crucial step in developing one’s sense of morality and responsibility to others.

This study adopts a qualitative approach, where I interviewed 30 Muslim youth aged 18-34, who graduated from Canadian Islamic schools. Through the youth’s sharing of their experience in Islamic schools and the way they currently define their identity, this research will highlight the role that Islamic schools play in constructing their unique Canadian Muslim identities. Analyzing the lived experience of Muslim youth will not only benefit the religious education academic field but also it will teach us much about the integration of religious newcomers and members of minority religious groups in Canadian society and contribute to public debates often dominated by xenophobia.

Doaa Shalabi is a PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo. Doaa’s research focuses on faith-based institutions and minority integration in Canada. For her PhD, Doaa is examining the relationship between Muslim schools and the integration of Muslim youth in Canadian society to showcase the complex relationship between religious identity, education policies, and social integration in multicultural societies.

Moral or Religious requirements? Which of Them Imposes More Shame on 13 to 15 year old Iranian Muslim Girls? (Joining virtually)

We are supposed to obey various requirements in our life such as requirements which are set by governments, companies, schools, universities, families, and hundreds of other legislator institutions.

Psychological theories of obsessions and compulsions have long recognized that strict religious codes and moral standards might influence the content and intensity of obsessional symptoms (e.g., Fitz, 1990; Rachman & Hodgson, 1980). In spite of some contradictory findings (e.g., Rapheal, Rani, Bale, & Drummond, 1996; Steketee, Quay, & White, 1991; Tek & Ulug, 2001), most empirical studies have found a positive association between religiosity and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms (e.g., Abramowitz, Deacon, Woods, & Tolin, 2004; Sica, Novara, & Sanavio, 2002; Yorulmaz, Gencoz, & Woody, 2009). However, the causal process responsible for this elevated obsessionality in highly religious individuals is largely unknown, nor is it known whether this relationship is evident in other religious faiths such as Islam. (Inozu, Karanci & Clark: 2012)

Feeling ashamed is another problem caused by religious strictness. As self-conscious emotions, shame is at the heart of pathology and developmental psychology. (Kashanaki & Keshmiri: 2019). Shame in this paper is a feeling that makes you feel as if you are a bad person.

Since a large number of scholars have previously analyzed the relationship between mental health and religion by using psychological methodology in all over the world, in this paper I do not repeat this examination because my goal is not to analyze the harm caused and I only I want to know whether children learn these requirements at school or from their families? And I also want to know if there is a trace of compulsion to perform Islamic requirements in the Qur'an or not? For this purpose, by focusing on the verses of the Qur'an, I investigate the attitude of the Qur'an in the implementation of Islamic requirements by the people. Does the Qur'an leave the people of the society free to comply with Islamic requirements or does it force them to obey through threats?

Mona Norouzi lives in Tehran, Iran. She has a background in Accounting and Auditing but her passion has always been Sufism and literature. She has earned her M.A in Persian Language and Literature from Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran. She writes papers on Islamic studies with literary analysis and has presented them in international conferences in Oxford and Cambridge universities, along with publishing them in Iranian journals. Moreover, she has been awarded a scholarship from Dr. Ida Glaser, an academic director at the Centre for Muslim-Christian studies in Oxford, England, and Houston, USA, for participating in three on-line courses in a row on Qur`an and Bible as well as contemporary issues in Muslim-Christian dialogue.

The Identity Constructions in Arab-Islamic Educative Systems. Focus on Moroccans and Syrians In Italy, Germany, and Sweden (Joining virtually)

The present work deals with the impact of identity-building policies in the Mediterranean Arab countries’ educative systems on the experiences of Arab-speaking pupils who migrated to Europe. The analysis follows Mernissi’s categorisation (1992) and Nussbaum’s multifactorial analysis (2010) of educative systems, focusing on humanities, traditional values (Habermas 2018) and colonialism (Anderson 1991) as key factors in educative identity-building or Habitus transmission (Bordieu & Passeron 1990). Morocco and Syria are identified as two extremes for how they declined Arab and Islamic identities and are among the most significant Arab communities in Italy, Germany and Sweden, where the empirical research is carried out.

Sara Mazzei After her Bachelor’s degree in educational sciences (Unical 2012), Sara completed Arabic-Islamic studies at the Orientale University of Naples (2012-14) and completed her Master's degree in Education for Intercultural and Media Sciences at the University of Calabria in 2016. She has worked with migrants and refugees in linguistic support with non-EU children in elementary school (2014) and Asylum seekers’ extraordinary centres. She has worked on the Erasmus plus projects ENABLE: Self-learning for Arab-speaking refugee children (2017-19) and PARENTable- Communicating with parents of newly migrated children (2019-22). She is finishing her joint PhD at the University of Calabria and the University of Education of Schwäbisch Gmünd (2018-22).

Practice of Race Analysis on Multimodal Literacy Practices of Children from Muslim Communities: A Case Study (Joining virtually)

Literacy is a practice of who we are, and it defines our identity and reflects our way of belonging to a group. The way we speak and are spoken to helps shape who we are (Shor, 1999, p.2). According to Gee (1989), there are several discourses and literacy is the control of using language in secondary discourses. Gee (1989) refers to discourse as “socially accepted ways of using language, of thinking, of acting that can be used as identification of social group”. While primary discourse refers to home literacies, secondary discourses refers to literacies learned in school. Children from non-mainstream communities often do not get a chance to practice the school literacies at home (Gee, 1989). This circumstance might cause non-mainstream children to be defined as disadvantaged in school literacies as well. This paper focuses on children from Muslim communities considering them as non-mainstream communities. This research aims to understand how children from Muslim communities reflect their social-cultural backgrounds when they are given the opportunity to engage in multimodal literacy practices.

Esra Ibil, is a third-year doctoral student at Indiana University's School of Education on a scholarship provided by her native Republic of Turkiye. She had worked with minority groups and taught Turkish in Istanbul, Turkiye, before attending graduate school. When she was a teacher, she incorporated the arts into literacy lessons and saw firsthand what strong and inclusive tools the arts are. Since then, she has been exploring how arts could be introduced into schools and used to empower children from all backgrounds. She therefore pursues a degree in Arts Education with a minor in literacy, culture, and language education.


Saturday, November 12 | 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Session 3: Higher Education and Teacher Preparation in Muslim societies

The Facilitator as Muraby: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship in Light of a Holistic Learner Experience Framework in an Islamic University in Egypt (Joining virtually)

Grounded in a holistic view of the learner as a whole human being mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, this study explores the transformative potential of FIRST, a new learner experience framework that promotes active deep learning(Bahgat et al, 2018), within a higher education setting. The study aims at investigating the framework’s potential breadth of real-life impact in a longstanding institution such as an Islamic University in Egypt. Based on the reflective experience of a university professor, the study attempts to address the following question: How is FIRSTframework transforming the learning experience in a traditional university setting taking into account the teacher student relationship? To comprehensively address this question, the research adopts a mixed methods approach by primarily employing interviews, surveys and observations of pre-recorded videos.

The holistic view of the learner stems from an Islamic viewpoint that regardseducation as one that involves the human being from a holistic perspective, rationally, spiritually and socially, and is based on the very notion of tawhid (oneness) in Islam (Cook, 1999). This holistic view of the human being is also represented by FIRST framework that attends to the learner as a whole human being attending to not only the mind and intellectual needs of the students but also looking at the learner’s emotional state as one that impedes learning. Based on five core domains, FIRST framework involves “focusing” on each individual learner’s needs while trusting the learner and what he/she brings to the learning experience’ “interacting” within positive group dynamics ensuring a positive safe environment within the group learning process; “reviewing” the learning activities, where real learning happens through reflection after activities in active deep experiential learning; “sequencing”the learning activities to engage and motivate the learner; and finally “transforming”learning into action through application (Bahgat et al, 2018). This study explores the dynamics and teacher student interactions that take place within the classroom as a result of the application of the key domains of this framework.

Throughout an experience that witnesses transition moments of a de-tyrannizing pedagogy involving an interplay of the heart and mind, and planting the seeds of a teacher student relationship that could blossom to reclaim the role of the muraby in the Islamic heritage in light of a “humanizing pedagogy” (Freire, 1970, p. 55), this study has found FIRST to promote change through a framework that has the capacity to instigate a paradigm shift in how the teacher reconceptualised his/her role re-envisioning the image of the student. The program has a transformative impact on the educators’ mindsets and mental paradigms. Moreover, in the most traditional learning environments, the smallest dynamic and heart-based changes can create ripples of change, for when reshaping the relationships between the facilitator and the students into one based on positivity, respect and reciprocal dialogue, positive change is experienced. Finally, FIRST presents a framework that transforms the classroom to gyrate around the learner and, thus, could be incorporated by educators who believe in empowering theoretical frameworks such as critical pedagogy but often grapple with how theory could be translated into practice.

Dina El Odessy is a PhD researcher and candidate in the University of Oxford, Department of Education. Her current doctoral research focuses on the relationship between pedagogic practices, cultural values and educational principles espoused and enacted in community schools in Egypt, exploring the potential of critical pedagogy in empowering school stakeholders. She graduated from the Faculty of Arts, English Department, University of Alexandria and earned her MA degree in education from University College London. She also works as a freelance writer, and a holistic wellbeing coach. Her research interests include: community schooling, Islamic education, social-emotional learning, empowerment and participatory education, critical pedagogy, holistic education, educational leadership and liberation theology.

Sarah Mitkees is a doctoral candidate at University College London, where her prospective research focuses on the personal and spiritual development of educators. She holds an EdM in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, as well as a Master’s in the Study of Religion from Oxford University focusing on spiritual and personal growth in Islam. Sarah is a part-time instructor at the American University in Cairo, where she teaches in the Professional Educator Diploma offered to teachers and educators.

Transforming Vocational Education and Training for Women in Palestine  (Joining virtually)

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, by 2019 the unemployment rate among youth (18-29 years) in Palestine reached 38%--31% among males and 63% among females--with 63% of the unemployed from the Gaza Strip compared to 23% from the West Bank. According to the Center of Youth for Economic Development, this is because young people are not properly equipped with the right skills to meet the demands of the labor market. Vocational Training Centers (VTCs) can help meet labor market demands, but vocational training in the West Bank and Gaza Strip suffers from a large gender gap both quantitatively—enrollment numbers—and qualitatively—the specialties available to males and females. According to the Ministry of Labor (2014/2015) 31% of vocational training center enrollees were females compared to 69% males.

In a study conducted by the Ministry of Education in 2011, both females and males generally preferred gender-traditional courses, for example beauty and sewing for females and mechanics and carpentry for males. However, some girls wanted to join mechanics, and some males wanted to enter the beauty profession. The lack of career guidance opportunities and a lack of attention to gender norms, has contributed to reluctance of females to engage in new disciplines suited to the changes and opportunities of the times.

The EquipYouth program addressed shortfalls in employability and career training services by building a bridge between the existing VTC trainings and labor market needs. Beginning in 2015, Equip Youth worked with the Ministry of Labor to integrate life skills and career guidance as part of the standard curricula to help young women and men identify their career paths and build their skills. By equipping teachers and staff with knowledge, skills and attitudes, they were better able to provide students the soft and practical skills they need to more successfully transition and compete in the labor market. The life skills curriculum included positive mindset (e.g. self-confidence), higher order thinking (e.g., critical thinking), interpersonal skills (e.g., communication) and community mindset (e.g., empathy). Through EquipYouth, the Gaza VTCs administration officially integrated a comprehensive course of life skills and career guidance into their program plans, naming the course “Professional Culture.” Professional Culture will be given to all students of the Gaza VTCs and is a requirement for graduation. Through this transformative system change, Professional Culture has the potential to reach tens of thousands of young women and men in the future. This is particularly critical in Gaza where the need for life skills training among young people is increasing as a result of the pandemic, and as youth are experiencing higher depression and suicide rates. This paper will also describe the observed changes in choices female and male students make after career guidance. Our ultimate aspiration is that VTCs provide vocational training specialties for both men and women, so that everyone—regardless of gender—will be trained and employed using the latest technologies in a wide range of professions and with the soft skills to serve them throughout their lives.

Narmeen Fayyaleh is Senior Specialist of Institutional Capacity Strengthening for International Youth Foundation and was Program Manager of the EquipYouth Palestine Project. She currently works in Palestine on the USAID-funded Positive Youth Engagement project, designed to weaken the push and pull factors that drive adolescents to violence. Ms Fayyaleh supports PYE’s goal to help 50,000 adolescents develop skills to lead the lives they choose, and strengthen positive interactions with community networks and institutions that serve them, including schools. Ms Fayyaleh holds a MA in sustainable development from Al-quds University and a BA in computer science from Birzeit University, Palestine.

Linda Fogarty is Director of Measurement, Evaluation, Research and Learning for International Youth Foundation, leading the MERL practice with a dynamic global team of technical specialists measuring youth agency, positive youth development, economic opportunities and systems change. At IYF and previously, as Director of MER at Jhpiego and research associate at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Dr. Fogarty emphasizes rigorous program evaluations and adaptive management, using mixed-methods research to evaluate programs and explore public health challenges covering a range of topics (e.g., maternal health, FP/RH, HIV, malaria, breast cancer, dementia). She holds a PhD in Public Health from JHSPH.

Turkey as a Popular Hub for Higher Education Learning Among Muslim Countries: Challenges and Opportunities for International Students (Joining virtually)

Higher education can be regarded as a high level or a specialized form of human capital, the contribution of which to economic growth is very significant. Thus Higher education is an important form of investment in human capital. It is rightly regarded as the “engine of development in the new world economy” (Castells, 1994). However, there are challenges faced by students in continuing higher education studies. They even leave the university unwillingly due to the increased cost of education fees as a result of global financial crisis. Indeed, Turkish government allocates enormous amount of spending on education. Turkey known to be the one of few countries that offers full scholarships for international students (Aras & Mohammed, 2019). It is also important to mention that Turkey is among the few countries offering free education for locals. Essentially, this study aims to investigate the university identity in the eyes of international students as well as significant antecedents related to the dependent variable of this study.

The constructs of this study include emotional intelligence, academic excellence, religiosity, self-efficacy, reciprocity and university identity. Age and gender as a moderating variables will be tested in order to further understand the demographic influence. This research, especially, addresses the literature gap in terms of technological acceptance towards acquiring education by international students. In the learning process, technology is becoming an integral part of higher education systems. This study is curious about the usage and international students acceptance level of technological tools and applications in Turkish universities. With that respect, does students’ social life declined through technology embedded education? This study develops the research model through integrating social identity theory (MacKay et al., 2019) and technology acceptance model in the context of higher education (Estriegana, 2019).

Şahnoza Kayadibi is a PhD student at the Department of Business Administration, Karabuk University (UNIKA), TURKIYE. She started first her PhD at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in 2018. She holds MSc in Marketing with honors (IIUM, 2017) and Business Administration Degree with honors (IIUM, 2013). During her master’s degree, she has contributed to the higher education academic field by proposing a research model to fulfill students’ needs in order to ease their financial difficulties to pay tuition fees. She is interested in higher education, marketing, and business fields. Her current research interests are focused on artificial intelligence and its advantages for the consumer market.

Dr. Saim Kayadib has been the Head of the Finance and Banking Department at the Faculty of Business Administration in Karabuk University since 2020 and served as the Director of the Vocational School of Social Sciences in 2021 and currently working as the Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Sciences at Karabuk University (UNIKA) as of March 2022.

He, served as the Chairman of the European Union Halal Standards Committee (CEN/TC 425) between 2013-2016. He worked as the Vice President of the International Relations Department (IAD) of the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) within the Rectorate for 3 years.

In 2007, he completed his Doctoral Study (M.Phil, PhD) at Durham University, England, with his thesis titled “Istihsan (Juristic Preference): The Forgotten Principle of Islamic Law”. He has many international and national books, articles and papers published in English, Turkish and Arabic languages, and continues scientific researches in the same field.

Surayyo Shaamirova is an Assistant Lecturer at Westminster International University Tashkent (WIUT), at the School of Business and Economics. She is specialized in teaching Finance and Islamic Finance modules at WIUT. Her research areas are Islamic Banking and Finance, Islamic Economics, Social Finance, and Islamic Marketing. She also works as an independent researcher for the organizations to conduct market studies (CIS countries) in the area of Islamic finance.

Her education background is from International Islamic University Malaysia. She completed her Bachelor’s degree from the Kulliyah of Economics and Management Sciences, and Master’s from Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate from Istanbul University, Turkey. Her PhD thesis is about “Financial engineering of IF products including the risk of concealment of Riba”.

Teacher Training in the Algerian Higher Education: Reality and Practice (Joining virtually)

Teacher education plays an important role in Algerian society. Through its 11 institutions distributed in different parts of the country, teacher education schools work on providing both academic and professional training for their pre-service teachers in humanities and exact sciences. As far as English teachers are concerned, they receive a four-years training for middle school teachers, and five years training for future high school teachers. The content of instruction focuses on developing students’ linguistic and cultural skills in the first two years, moving to more pedagogical and methodological competences in the two or three years that follow. The training cycle is crowned as a ‘practical’ training course involving the trainees in real teaching tasks in middle/high schools, in addition to a research paper preparation for future high school teachers.

During the pandemic crisis, the Algerian government announced the closing of all educational institutions and the adoption of e-learning as an official form of instruction in March 2020. Accordingly, Algerian universities shifted from 100% face-to-face teaching during the first term of the year, to 100% online instruction in the second term. In the following two years, Blended learning has been introduced in all Algerian higher education institutions, mixing both modes of instruction based on a pre-established schedule that took into consideration the availability of human and physical resources in each university. These rapid changes have had an impact on the methods of instruction as well as on the quality of the training provided by teacher education institutions.

The present paper aims at shedding light on the Algerian experience with teacher training during the pandemic crisis. The study focuses on the challenges faced by both teachers (teacher trainers) and students (pre-service teachers) at l’Ecole Normale Supérieure ‘Assia Djebar’, Constantine (ENSC), one of the biggest teacher education schools in the country. The tools of data collection include an analysis of trainees’ training reports and a questionnaire for supervisors (teacher trainers at l’ENSC). Results have shown that ‘social distancing’, a safety measure taken by decision makers during the pandemic, has had a negative impact on the students’ training in terms of reduced time for the training, lack of interaction between mentors and trainees, and difficulty in coping with Blended learning. 

Dr. Amel Benyahia is a full time teacher trainer and researcher at the Ecole Normale Supérieure 'ENS Assia Djebar' Constantine, Algeria, since 2002. She has also been the head of the English department from March 2017 to September 2021. She holds a Ph.D in applied linguistics and ELT. Her research interests include but are not limited to: teacher education, course design, assessment, learning strategies, and critical thinking.

An Unexpected Education: Saudi Women Learning Activism and Entrepreneurship Through Graduate Studies Abroad (Joining in-person)

This paper explores early findings from an in-progress research study focused on the experiences of female graduate students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at U.S. higher education institutions. A number of Saudi women are reporting that their graduate educational experience in the U.S. has stimulated their interest and desire to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and/or civic activism in their home country. This finding appears to be common among the majority of participants in the study regardless of their academic discipline and personal background-- Saudi women are returning to the Kingdom with PhDs, MBAs, and other internationally-recognized credentials along with concrete plans to start their own businesses and/or involve themselves in civic activism. This paper investigates the factors that may be influencing this phenomenon, its impact on individual participants, and the possible short term and long term impacts on Saudi society, economy, and political environment as a whole.

The research study which this paper is based upon utilizes a qualitative methodological approach, specifically case study design, to collect data from nine female graduate student participants from Saudi Arabia and presents an in-depth description of each case. The analysis of the collected data has been guided by theoretical frameworks related to Arab feminism(s) and Islamic feminism(s). It is anticipated that this paper will build on and add complexity to contemporary understandings of transnational feminism(s) in a global context, with specific focus on the diverse educational experiences of Muslim women.

Natalie Vinski Ibrahim is Associate Director for University of Maryland’s Honors Global Communities Program and a PhD candidate in International Education Policy in UMD's College of Education. She joined the UMD campus community in 2011 after completing a year-long Fulbright Teaching fellowship (ETA) at University Hassan II Faculty of Arts and Humanities in Casablanca, Morocco. Her research and professional interests include international education, intergroup dialogue, and gender issues in higher education. She has co-led education abroad programs to Tohoku, Japan, and Santiago, Dominican Republic, and has participated in Búsquedas Investigativas international education research practicum in Havana, Cuba.


Saturday, November 12 | 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Session 4: Pedagogy and Leadership

Effectiveness of Leadership Education on Female Tertiary Muslim Students of United Arab Emirates (Joining virtually)

The education level and career orientation of Muslim females have always been a matter of debate around the world. Muslim women are found less educated as compared to the women in most other religious groups and lag further behind in making their own career separated from their male partners (McClendon et al, 2018). As mentioned by Dr. Haaifa Jawaad in her book, The Rights of Women in Islam: An Authentic Approach, the Quran commands all Muslims, to read, think, contemplate, and pursue knowledge, regardless of gender, and education has been encouraged as a religious duty for both males and females by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Jawaad, 1998). In spite of no restrictions from the religion side, the possible reasons for the learning gap could be the economic condition of Muslims in countries like Pakistan and India where due to lack of resources, male children get privilege. It could be the misuse of religiosity to suppress women like in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran or the conditions of the war zone countries like Palestine and Syria.

United Arab Emirates (UAE), a fast developing country and an advocate of women’s rights and education, gives place to the people from all around the world. A typical classroom of a home to around two hundred nationalities is mostly a mixed nationality classroom. This research is an attempt to check the effectiveness of leadership education on female tertiary Muslim students of UAE. These Muslim female students will not only build up their own lives and careers but can also help females of their home countries by setting up examples in front of them. The same model can be applied to other less developed and suppressed set-ups. The study investigated the effectiveness of a student leadership program at a private college in Dubai having hundred percent female Muslim population. As a part of the course students were asked to fill the Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Inventory (EILI), 2 nd edition, based on which the frequency distribution of them was determined across the Inventory. The students with good scores across nineteen capacities of EILI were interviewed to know their perception about the course to get its effectiveness.

Bushra Parveen Muzzaffar Hussain is a researcher and educator working in the United Arab Emirates for seventeen years. In addition to her degree from Aligarh Muslim University, India, she has recently completed her Master of Arts in Education (Coaching and Mentoring) from Middlesex University, London. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia. She has gained a wide range of experience from administration to teaching at tertiary level. She has presented in international conferences and has been published in peer-reviewed journals. She considers mentoring her two daughters as her biggest achievement. 

Revisiting Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy in Indonesian New Curriculum System (Joining virtually)

This paper investigates misunderstandings regarding implementing HOTS in the Indonesian education system, focusing on selecting KKO (Operational Framework or verbs) in learning materials and questions by teachers through a literature review approach. The 2013 Curriculum is being replaced by the Prototype Curriculum in the Indonesian education system (Kurikulum Merdeka). This modification emphasizes students' abilities to observe their environment, solve problems, and find social solutions. By applying LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills) and MOTS (Middle Order Thinking Skills) towards HOTS, Bloom's Taxonomy is also used to support the Merdeka curriculum (high thinking skills). However, HOTS is misunderstood in the national curriculum. The Merdeka curriculum proposes the implementation and application of hierarchical HOTS to increase students' skills and competencies. Ministry of Education and Culture directives govern KKO and HOTS-based learning questions. Teachers struggle to develop instructional materials, and students struggle to answer HOTS questions. It becomes problematic when policymakers regulate HOTS with teacher obstacles.

According to experts in Bloom's Taxonomy, efforts to improve classroom learning frequently fail. Bloom's Taxonomy prohibits the teaching of "high-level" tasks before "lower-order" tasks. The mastery of simple tasks must precede that of complex ones. Students who struggle with Knowledge (C1) and Comprehension (C2) should not be taught "higher-order" concepts first. Knowledge (C4) must be mastered before Synthesis (C5). Complex individual abilities with variable comprehension and practice levels are inapplicable to HOTS leveling. We propose to deconstruct the understanding and application of Bloom's Taxonomy for the reconstruction of HOTS in terms of the subject developed by the teacher; (1) rather than assuming that a "higher-order" task will always be more complicated than a "lower-order" task, the teacher can change almost all levels of questions by decreasing the difficulty (but not the level); (2) rather than assuming that "higher-order" results necessitate "higher-order" learning tasks, teachers should focus on how students learn. Inviting students to engage with "higher-order" learning materials actively is the solution; and (3) since critical thinking (evaluative) is the correct way of thinking, it is crucial to increase students' understanding while enhancing their abilities. Not only can this taxonomy be used mechanically based on its fundamental understanding, but it can also be developed and explained further based on the context of the subject matter. To avoid Bloom's Taxonomy paradox plaguing the Indonesian educational system, all levels of cognitive ability may be used to complete tasks.

Rahmat Ryadhush Shalihin (Ryan) is a PhD student in Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education at Universiti Brunei Darussalam and a paper consultant for Indonesian students. He earned a master's degree in Islamic Education from Ahmad Dahlan University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. His research interest covers Islamic education, neuroeducation, fiqh contemporary, fiqh disaster, and science and religion transdisciplinary model. His works have appeared in the International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research. He also has two patents for research publications about Islamic and physics transdisciplinary approaches and Islamic education based on students’ psychology in Indonesia.

Aliamat bin Omar Ali, Ph.D earned a master’s degree in Language Learning and Education from the University of York, England, and Ph.D in Education from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interest covers the Malay Language, researching technology, such as computers, mobile devices, weblogs, software, and LMS platforms in language classrooms, technology, and pedagogy. He also seconded to UBD Entrepreneurship Village as part of the UBD initiative toward achieving UBD goals for innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.

Dr. Norhazlin binti Pg Hj Muhammad, earned a master’s degree in Islamic Education from the University of International Islamic University Malaysia and PhD degree in Islamic Studies from The University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Her expertise in Islamic Education, Islamic Studies, Islam in Brunei, and the History and Development of Education in Brunei Darussalam. Her research interest includes contemporary issues in Islamic Education and Islamic Studies, traditional and contemporary thought of Muslim scholars in Islamic Education and Islamic Studies, the Comparative Waqaf system, Islam and Women studies, and Islam in South-East Asia and Europe. She was also a Visiting Research Fellow, at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford, UK, and Visiting Researcher, at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA.

Irham Irham is a PhD student in Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE) at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and a part-time lecturer at the faculty of Humanities, UIN Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang Indonesia. He earned a master's degree in linguistics from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. His research interest covers critical applied linguistics, EMI, English as an international language, internationalization of higher education, corpus linguistics, and pragmatics. His works have appeared in the Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, MEXTESOL journal, Asian Englishes and Changing English, among others. He also has contributed a chapter published by Nova Science.

Language as a “Praxis”: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of Algerian English as a Foreign Language Textbooks (Joining in-person)

Situated within the context of the international discourse on Global Citizenship Education (GCE) and given the research gap on its theorization and application in North Africa and the Middle East, this study uses English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks as a context for deepening the conceptualizations of Global Citizenship Education. As a new educational model, GCE advocates for the need to cultivate global citizenship; it implies global interconnectedness, solidarity, and commitment to the common good beyond the national borders (Torres, 2015; Torres & Bosio, 2020).

Algeria, among other Maghrebi countries, opted for the expansion of EFL education due to its worldwide dominance as the language of science and technology. Although English came to impose itself at the international level as a hegemonic language (Zughoul, 2003), its “anonymity” (Woolard, 2016) as a language that is not forced by any former colonial power contributed to its prosperity in the Algerian context compared to the French language.

The dominance of EFL also poses a challenge pertaining to the cultural content of the curriculum taught in national contexts with public institutions that prescribe the “official knowledge” (Apple, 2014). Using Guilherme’s (2007) words, it gives rise to the challenge of tailoring the teaching of EFL in a way to avoid “ethnocentric” nationalistic approach and “ethno-cleansing” Eurocentric approach towards an unbiased “ethno-decentring” approach for the cultivation of global citizens (p.80). In fact, the actualization of this question in practice remains an open-ended conversation especially in contexts with strong nationalistic ideologies. Using EFL standardized textbooks that are published from 2016 through 2019 and used around junior high public schools in Algeria, this paper seeks to address the following questions: (1) What are the dominant ideologies that are communicated through texts and images of Algerian junior high EFL textbooks? (2) In what ways, if any, do texts and images of Algerian junior high EFL textbooks contribute to fostering global citizenship identity?

This study is guided by Freire’s concept of “praxis”, i.e., “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it” (1970, p.51). Thus, using a critical framework, I draw on the different tools that are offered by Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics Theory, and Multimodality to unveil the different ideologies embedded in the content of the EFL textbooks in Algeria. The Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis that is used in this study is based on the functional model developed by Halliday (1978) in the field of linguistics, namely the metafunction of language that deals with the content and the interpersonal metafunction of language that is about social relationships. The study will derive from the tools developed by different critical scholars to accommodate the analysis of different linguistic forms and visual structures of the textbooks (e.g., Machin & Mayr, 2012; Leeuwen, 2012; Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006).

Fadhila Hadjeris is former Fulbright scholar and currently a Phd. Candidate at the School of Education at the University of California Los Angeles with a major in Social Sciences and Comparative Education. Her research interests center on the implementation of Global Citizenship Education in the Algerian context with a focus on the school curriculum and teachers’ pedagogy. Fadhila has a background in Foreign Language Education and Applied Linguistics which was the focus of her first PhD that she obtained from Algeria. She taught different languages: English in Algeria and Arabic and French in the USA. She is now serving as a teaching fellow of French at UCLA’s Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies.

Madrassa Education System and Associated Discourses: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Education Policies of Pakistan (Joining virtually)

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the power structures (re)producing religious/madrassa education system in Pakistan, as reflected through policy text using the framework and method of Jager’s Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA).

Pakistan being one of the few countries founded on the basis of religion, has a dialectical relation between religion and other social institutes. The nature, magnitude, and modalities of these relations vary across institutes, geographies, and time. The relation between religion and schooling/education is a critical one, for both have been trying to develop a functioning equilibrium since the inception of Pakistan. Embedded within the very fabric of society, Islam features heavily in politics of Pakistan, which is evident from constitutional provisions and faith-based political parties. Islam being an integral component of all political agendas, features in political slogans/campaigns, and is used as a legitimation tool for any and every social action from individual to national level. This overarching nature of religion/Islam, and its influence over politics, has implications for education policy making in Pakistan, as policy making, and education are inherently political activities.

This paper uses Jager’s framework, which draws upon Foucault’s work, by incorporating Leonet’ev’s activity theory. Jager’s methodology mediates Foucault’s method by introducing social actors as a missing link between discourse and reality, subject and object, and discursive and non-discursive practices. This approach uses Laclau’s social constructivism to introduce a dualism of discourse and reality, therefore, denying existence of any social reality outside discourse. Jager’s framework, thus, allows us to analyze policy text as a social action which is reflective of power structures that (re)produces the madrassa education system in Pakistan.

Through an in depth structural, detailed, and synoptic analysis, policy texts around madrassa education system reveal temporal and spatial trends in power of, and over, madrassa education system in Pakistan. The analysis also reveals differences across various democratic and military regimes, along with shifts in power structures as a result of geopolitical shifts. Other findings include, argumentation shifts across policies and assuming a coherent version of Islam. There are generic prescriptions about Islamic education which circumvents, legitimizes, and problematizes the sectarian differences within Islamic education.

Furthermore, the philosophical and practical dissonance between modern/worldly and Islamic education is a common feature within policy texts. Both are clearly demarcated as different, and almost all policies try to present a unifying link and coherence between the two. These mitigation attempts almost always use the rhetoric of Quran and Hadith for legitimation purposes. This is indicative of the strength of the discourse, which imbues the madrassa education system with its power. This paper is an attempt to develop a holistic understanding of the madrassa education system in Pakistan, unlike most scholarship, which look at the economic and social ramifications of the phenomenon. This paper ends with a few recommendations to better understand and address the dissonance between the public and madrassa education systems.

Tahreem Fatima, Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry with the aim of building teacher leadership in K-12 setting. Skilled in Project Management, Research, Course Designing, Leadership, Mentoring, and Teamwork. Strong education development and research professional with an ongoing PhD degree in Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum (Miami University, OH, USA) and a qualified past one in Master of Philosophy (MPhil) focused on Education Leadership and Management (ELM) from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan.

Moaaz Hamid is a PhD student in History, Philosophy, and Policy in Education, specializing in Education Policy Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research interests, stemming from his work in the education development sector in Pakistan, are global education policy, policy transfer, non-state actors in education, and knowledge utilization in the education policy sphere.


Sunday, November 13 | 8:30 - 10:00 am

Session 5: Advancing Education in Muslim Societies: Empirical Evidence 

Investigating the Correlation Between Religion and Key Human Values Among Educational Stakeholders in Mauritius (Joining virtually)

It is undeniable that human values are key in shaping the youth into responsible citizens capable of making a positive difference to peoples’ life, and facing global, national, and personal challenges. According to Carneiro et al. (2021), religion has an important role in the development of such values and eventually on moral and ideal behaviors. Though several studies have been done in this field to correlate religion and human values, analysis of the literature revealed that (i) most of the studies are limited to few human values, (ii) there is no published article showcasing the correlation in the Mauritian context, (iii) an Islamic perspectives has not yet been adopted in analysing the correlations, in view of planning trainings that will further the development of values in students of the Muslim community, (iv) are limited to simple statistical correlations. It is in this perspective that the Mauritius-specific data from the AEMS “Mapping the Terrains” project was used to investigate the correlation between religion and a broad set of human values, namely forgiveness, individualistic orientation, collectivistic orientation, self-efficacy, problem-solving, meaning-making, sense of belongingness, religiosity and spirituality, hope, life satisfaction, gratitude, emotion, regulation, empathy, and self-regulation.

In fact, using a purely quantitative methodology, the data from the AEMS “Mapping the Terrains” project were analysed using the SPSS and AMOS software to develop a (i) descriptive analysis, which showcase the association between the main religious beliefs in Mauritius (Muslim, Christian and Hindu) and the key human values, and (ii) Structural Equation Model (SEM) which showcases the existing correlations between religion and the set of human values. In fact, the output of this study, which maps the different human values to the main religious beliefs present in the Mauritian community, represents important baseline data that inform policymakers and other educational stakeholders on the way forward to further the development of human values amongst Mauritian students and other educational stakeholders. Moreover, by adopting an Islamic perspective to analyse the findings of the study, it was found that the Muslim community in Mauritius have greater likelihood and are more agreeable towards most of the values as compared to the other communities, excluding forgiveness, life satisfaction, individualistic orientation, self-efficacy, and problem solving. In fact, this article also provides a set of recommendations (prepared based on the findings of this study) that inform policy makers and other educational specialists on the way forward to enhance the development of human values amongst students of different religions, depending on their specific needs. This will provide healthy values-based multi-cultural and multi-ethnic relationships between the different ethnic groups of the country.

Dr. Shakeel Atchia has served the Mauritian Education system for the past 22 years as Educator, Quality Assurance Officer and currently as a member of the Science Education Department of the Mauritius Institute of Education. Backed by a strong scientific background and a PhD in Education, he has developed a research interest in the fields of science education and STEM education, which is visible through his publications, conference interventions and research work. He is currently the overall coordinator of a collaborative MIE-UKZN project on STEM education and is also the international consultant for the Quantitative Analysis of the international project ‘COVID-19 impacts on education systems’, under the aegis of Stockholm University.

Impact of Sense of Belonging on Forgiveness and Gratitude: Mediating and Moderating Mechanism (Joining virtually)

A sense of belonging is a critical part of healthy human development. In recent times, educational researchers have investigated how a sense of belonging at school affects students in multifaceted ways. Yet known studies have not explored this construct and its outcomes in Muslim societies. The impact of a sense of belonging on forgiveness and gratitude remains an area that requires more attention in Muslim societies. Drawing on the need to belong theory, our study tested the mediating role of collectivism between a sense of belonging and forgiveness & gratitude. We also examined the moderating role of religiosity/ spirituality between a sense of belonging and collectivism. This research paper presents findings from a quantitative study of 2019-2020 “Mapping the Terrain” conducted by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). The data on values and competencies were collected in fifteen communities of interest, namely Muslim-majority societies with a focus on students in secondary schools and higher education (n= 13492). Data is analyzed using SPSS and SmartPLS. Young people under 18 (65%) are the largest target group, followed by 18-24 year old (32%) in 15 countries. The adult sample is highly educated, with the majority of students (18%) having a bachelor's degree. The largest sample (n=2,216) was collected from India, while the smallest sample was from the United States (n=252). The results reveal that demographic characteristics such as age and gender positively impact forgiveness, while negatively impacting gratitude, collectivism, and religiosity. There is a negative relationship between age and a sense of belonging. There is no significant difference in forgiveness based on grade. The results also indicate that sense of belonging is positively associated with forgiveness & gratitude, and that collectivism mediates all of these relationships. Religiosity doesn’t moderate the relationship between a sense of belonging and collectivism. Based on the results of our analysis, we have recommended policies to government and non-government institutions for improving their recruitment, training and development processes using values profile.

Dr. Khurram Shahzad is Professor and Dean at Faculty of Management Sciences, Riphah Int’l University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr. Shahzad holds a Post-Doctoral and PhD degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. He also served as the Assistant Dean of Research at Riphah Int’l University. He has published his research in many renowned peer-reviewed journals, including Leadership & Organization Development Journal and Ethics & Behavior, among others. In addition, he has presented his research in numerous international conferences in more than 20 countries. His primary research interests include leadership, human resource practices, personality, and Islamic work ethics.

Performing Religion, Faith, and Values by a Politically Contested Minority: Facilitation of Empathy and Forgiveness among Muslim Students and Teachers in India (Joining virtually)

The Muslims in India have been at a vulnerable position in the last one decade due to the political climate. The structural and religious oppression has the potential to trigger violence and riots due to its vulnerability of being a land divided into nations on the grounds of religion. The Muslims of India are reminded of having secondary status and added with negative derogatory identity labels by the majoritarian right-wing group. The present study looked at how does this socio-political oppression is perceived by the Muslim youth and whether it has effects on their religiosity, moral values, and sense of belongingness. The difference between religiosity and values of empathy and forgiveness in teachers and Muslims students are worth exploring to understand whether the two generations differ in the context of political oppressions. The hypothesis is that despite the experiences of religious oppressions, the Muslim Youth maintains their religiosity and values of empathy and forgiveness hold them non-violent. The connectedness between religiosity and sense-of belongingness is further analyzed to support the hypothesis.

Hanan PT, M.Sc. Statistics, Studies PG Diploma in Big Data Analytics at C DAC Thiruvananthapuram, India. Collaborating Statistics in multidisciplinary studies is an interest.

Mohamed Asheef TK is a postgraduate student of psychology in Aligarh Muslim University, India. Belonging to Kerala, the southern state of India, his areas of interest are positive psychology and mental health.

Suhara R. Hassan, is a Social Worker specialized in Psychiatric Social Work and is currently a PhD Scholar registered with Jamia Millia Islamia, a Central University in India. Suhara's areas of interest are mental health, families and children in difficult circumstances, research methodology, and intervention research.

Students’ Sense of Belonging to School and Their Perceptions of Teachers: A Comparative Study (Joining virtually)

Students' sense of belonging to school is an important research topic because when students feel like they are a part of a school community, they are more likely to perform better academically, be more motivated to learn, and have higher self-esteem. Using the survey data collected in 2019-2020 for Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS), this study examines differences between countries in the strength of students’ sense of belonging at school and differences in students' perception of teachers , and how they are associated with students’ type of school (public/private), gender and religion. Using IRT model, we seek to answer the following research questions:

  1. How does the students’ sense of belonging differ among the countries in the sample?
  2. Does the sense of belonging differ among students in public schools versus private schools (in each country separately)?
  3. Is there a difference between students’ sense of belonging between girls and boys (in each country separately)?
  4. Does the sense of belonging differ between students with different religions?
  5. Does the students’ perception of teachers differ by country, gender and students’ religion?

Donia Smaali Bouhlila holds a Ph.D in Development Economics and a research diploma (HDR). She is a full time assistant-professor at the Faculty of Economics and Management of Tunis-University of Tunis El Manar. She is an associate editor at International Journal of Educational Development. She is a research associate at the Economic Research Forum (ERF) and a senior researcher at Laboratoire Prospectives, Stratégies et Développement Durable (PS2D).

Imen Hentati holds a PhD in Family Economics. She is a full time assistant-professor at the Faculty of Economics and Management of Tunis-University of Tunis El Manar. She is a researcher at the Laboratory for Research on Quantitative Development Economics (LAREQUAD).

Decoding Relationship between Collectivistic and Individualistic Orientations with Positive Psychology, Religiosity, Socioeconomic Demographics among Muslims:  A Survey-based Global Study. (Joining virtually)

The data for this exploratory study will come from the Mapping the Terrain 2018-2019 study. The project includes the dataset to expand the sample in all age groups. I particularly intend to use all Muslims in the survey. I will consider both Muslim-majority countries, including Bosnia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sudan and Malaysia; and predominately non-Muslim countries, or countries with a balanced ratio of religions, including Tatarstan, India, Kenya, Mauritius, and the United States. The goal is to empirically analyze the influence of collectivistic and individualistic orientation of Muslims’ self-perceived personality traits of empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, and life satisfaction.

Several scholarly researches have analyzed the role of collectivistic and individualistic orientation (Burton et al., 2021; Mishra, 1994), and how they impact individuals’ self-perceived positive psychological traits of empathy (Duan, Wei & Wang, 2008), forgiveness (Hook et al., 2012), gratitude (Rego & Cunha, 2009), and community mindfulness (Germani et al., 2021). However, this will be among the first empirical studies to analyze a large, global sample of Muslims. Based on past literature and considering the information gap, this study will answer the following research question:

  • Does collectivistic or individualistic orientation among Muslims impact the level of their empathy, forgiveness, and community mindfulness differently?

This research question will be answered by a series of individual hypotheses through regression analysis of different independent variables (collectivistic and individualistic orientations) and dependent variables (empathy, forgiveness, and community mindfulness) while controlling for survey participant geographic location (including Bosnia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sudan and Malaysia; Tatarstan, India, Kenya, Mauritius, and the United States), socioeconomic demographics (age, education and, income) and religiosity/spirituality.

An additional aspect to see here would be if the country of origin, Muslim majority vs Muslim minority, has a different outcome for the same personality orientation. Another important predicter could be gender, as men and women have shown different levels of empathy, forgiveness, and community mindfulness under the same circumstances. Other variables of interest include age, education and income.

Dr. Zeeshan Noor is a Research Manager for the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative (MPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. His research interests include public and nonprofit management, faith-based philanthropy, prosocial behavior, digital media use in the public and nonprofit sectors, and DEI Management. Dr. Noor has substantial practical experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He is currently participating in several research projects. Dr. Noor graduated with a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.


Sunday, November 13 | 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session 6: Shared Spaces and Citizenship Education

Exploring Intercultural Competence and Global Citizenship in the Pakistani Classroom (Joining virtually)

This presentation will discuss the outcomes of a pilot study to explore perspectives of intercultural competence by Pakistani English secondary school teachers. Pakistan is implementing a Single National Curriculum with student outcomes of global citizenship including development of empathy, tolerance, gender equity, and promotion of diversity of cultures. Through a qualitative research study, three Pakistani English teachers were interviewed to explore their perspectives of intercultural competence. This study is relevant to explore intercultural competence as a framework to effectively support the new curricular outcomes. Key findings included: a need for developing intercultural competence in Pakistani public schools; a lack of professional development programs in intercultural competence; a broad understanding of its meaning; and the positive role of cultural exchange in its development. This study adds to the field of international research by providing a foundation for development of purposeful teacher education programs through the framework of intercultural competence. Furthermore, it will help identify intersections in terminology and a broader understanding of non-western perspectives of intercultural competence.

Inge Urbancic is an international educator and consultant with a passion for creating connections among diverse cultures. She earned an MA in TESOL from Notre Dame, University of Maryland, and is currently a Doctoral student in Education at George Mason University. As the Founder of the Pakistani-American Teachers of English Network (PATEN) and Sea to See Travel, she connects diverse cultures around the world through direct engagement and authentic travel experiences. She actively supports educational initiatives including TESOL, Society for International Education, PakTESOL, and the MicroAccess Youth Program.

Advancing Education in Muslim Societies: Analytical Study of Sudan Data (2019-2020) (Joining virtually)


Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) is a reformative method for the problems encounter Muslim societies. This approach of education required a transformative pattern of education i.e. Educating young people not only for a accomplished life but also for a meaningful one. Based on this idea the international institution of Islamic thought (IIIT) undertake (AEMS) survey that covered 15 Muslim countries including Sudan. This study is mainly concern with thy analysis of Sudan data. For statistical and other mentioned reasons, our focus would be the data concerning the school students and school teachers. It worth mentioning that the objective the study is stemmed from the overall objective of the project of Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (review project objective), in addition to the other contextual one concerning the Sudan.

The General objective:

  1. To analyze and interpret the results of AEMS survey (2019-2020) for Sudan.
  2. To identify the importance of the values and the concepts involved in AEMS Survey for Advancing the education in Sudan.
  3. To examine the trends towards the (self efficacy, collectivistic versus individualistic orientation, and the open Mindness thinking) among Sudanese school teachers and school students.
  4. To explain if there are any variations in the trends towards these concepts and values (self efficacy, collectivistic versus individualistic orientation, and the open Mindness thinking) among Sudanese school teachers and school students in the private education versus public one?
  5. To examine in particular the correlation between the self efficacy of Sudanese school teachers and the sense of belonging of the school students.
  6. To provide scientific and reasonable recommendations for improving the education process in Sudan.

Inquiries of the study:

  1. What are the importance of the values and concepts involved in AEMS Survey for the Advancing the education in Sudan?
  2. How the trends towards the (self efficacy,collectivistic versus individualistic orientation, and the open Mindness thinking) among Sudanese school teachers and school students look like?
  3. Are there any variations in the trends towards (self efficacy, collectivistic versus individualistic orientation, and the open Mindness thinking) among Sudanese school teachers and school students in the private education versus public one?
  4. Is there any correlation between the self efficacy of Sudanese school teachers and the sense of belonging of the school students?

Sample size of Sudan data in 949 participants representing 5 %of the Total Sample (18601) of AEMS Survey. For the purpose of analysis, the study combines different methods due to the nature of the survey data.

Descriptive and Analytical statistics as well as a case study, moreover the study can adopt different statistical measures, q squire, t test as well as Likert scale,

The study expected results are:

  1. Highlighting the important values and for achieving the project objectives.
  2. Provide contextual analysis and interpretation.
  3. Investigate the association between some concepts.
  4. Helping the educational policy makers to integrate values in the education process.

Rihab Abdel Rahman El-sharif Ahmed has a Ph.D. in Political Science, from Cairo University, Egypt. She completed a Master of Science in Political Science at Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan. She was the Director General, Taseel Almarifah, in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Sudan between 2014-2019 and the Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Gezira in Sudan prior to that.

Safia Abu Elgasim has a Ph.D. in Rural Development, University of Gezira and a Master in Sociology and social Anthropology from the University of Khartoum. She was the Head of Rural Development Department and the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development through 2019.

Thinking About Peace Education in Yemen (Joining in-person)

This exploratory research study was conducted in four universities' colleges of education in Yemen, namely the universities in Ade, Taiz, Mukalla and Hodeida. A total of 16 participants from the faculties of these universities have participated in this study. Three research questions guided the study: How educators in colleges of education perceive peace education, tolerance and accepting others? How current conflict impacts education, and what can educators do to support peace? What are the elements of peace education training programs and curricula needed for schools in Yemen?

Dr. Ahmed Atef, Born in Aden, South of Yemen, in 1958. Graduated from Punjab University, India, (B.Sc. 1984) and George Mason University, USA (MEd. in Special Education in 2008 & Ph. D. in International Education & Leadership 2021). Worked as a counselor in the Yemen Embassy, Washington, DC (1994-2000). Has 18 years of experience as a teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools. Currently works as an advisor of the Southern Transitional Council of South Yemen and an educational researcher in a personal capacity.

Making Space and Finding Voice for the Narrative of Muslim American Youth: The Educational Journeys of Female Muslim American High School Seniors (Joining virtually)

The lived educational experiences of Muslim American youth are deeply affected by the white, mainstream landscape where they navigate their realities as a minoritized and demonized group. Muslim American populations in North America have undergone traumatizing Islamophobia since the 9/11 attacks, which forced many Muslim families to return to their countries of origin in the face of racist threats or choose lifestyles where they could not be identified as Muslim. The Trump era unleashed further bigotry and hatred against Muslim Americans and brought on an alarming increase in hate crimes against this vilified demographic. Muslim American youth experience a distinct marginalization experience as part of their lived reality. This lived experience is one of challenges and resilience, invalidation and strength, as Muslim Americans navigate their intersectional realities with hyphenations and multiplicities of identity at play (Sirin & Fine, 2008). Critical Race Theory has been used first as a legal theoretical framework, and later found application in the educational experiences of minoritized populations. Subsets of Critical Race Theory have included LatCrit, TribalCrit, AsianCrit, FemCrit, QueerCrit and the like, each carving a niche for its demographic's specific experience. The creation of subsets within an academic framework, do more than creating a space, they also enable the tool of language to be established and used in a discussion that can be based on certain inherent assumptions. As a female, Muslim American, I have felt that such a space needed to be given for an exploration of the Muslim American experience, which while being intersectional is one situated in a narrative of demonization by the mainstream White. White control over the narrative of Muslim Americans either creates a story of oppression of Muslims by other Muslims, or spins a tale of terrorism. This article is centered around a narrative inquiry of 15 female Muslim American students around how they have navigated both Muslim and non-Muslim educational spaces in the United States. The study considers the formal and informal educational experiences of Muslim American high school and undergraduate female students including public and Islamic schooling, the role of family, and Muslim Student Association on Muslim American youth.

Dr. Noor Ali is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University's School of Education and serves as the Concentration Lead for Transformative School Leadership. Dr. Ali has developed a micro theoretical framework, MusCrit as a subset of Critical Race Theory where she posits a framing for understanding the lived experiences of Muslim Americans. Her book is titled Counter-narratives of Muslim American Women: Making Space for MusCrit. A veteran teacher in K-8 education, Dr. Ali is also the Principal of Al-Hamra Academy where she has led several initiatives including teaching towards equity, experiential learning, inter-faith dialogue, citizen science, and STEM education.

Predicting Students’ Self-Efficacy in Muslim Societies using Machine Learning Methods (Joining virtually)

The belief in one's own ability to perform a specific task or behavior is referred to as self-efficacy. It is a central concept that correlates strongly and positively with cognitive and behavioral engagement in a given task. In an education based-environment, students’ success is driven by their academic and engagement performance. Students with high self-efficacy also participate more in class, work harder, persevere longer, and have fewer negative emotional reactions when faced with difficulties compared to students with low self-efficacy. The goal of this study is to investigate and understand students' self-efficacy in Muslim societies. To achieve the goal of this study, factor analysis is performed to understand the underlying structure of a survey dataset followed by developing predictive models using machine learning methods. This study seeks to predict student self-efficacy (SSE) using a set of factors that represent different dimensions, such as psychological competencies, values, socioeconomic, and religious predictors.

The survey dataset—used in this study—was collected and provided by the International Institute of Islamic Thought as part of an initiative on advancing education and human development in Muslim communities. There is a lack of studies on students' self-efficacy in Muslim societies, which have unique values systems and face critical development challenges. The outcome of this study will further advance the body of knowledge in educational research and potentially benefit researchers and educators with a focus on Muslim societies. Academic and other educators from other societies could also use the findings of this study to identify students with low or high levels of self-efficacy and to develop self-efficacy improvement interventions.

Mohammed Alrezq is a PhD student in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. Alrezq received his B.S. and M.S. in Industrial Engineering. His research interests include the methodologies and applications of continuous improvement, data analytic/science, and modeling.

Mohammed Ba-Aoum is a Virginia Tech PhD candidate in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He earned dual master's degrees in Social Pedagogy and Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University. His research focuses on using data analytics, systems thinking, and simulation modeling to develop high-leverage policies and enhance institutions' effectiveness. Furthermore, he is interested in envisioning and strategizing ways to improve education systems by advancing integrative knowledge and enhancing interdisciplinary research, particularly in engineering and social science. Mohammed worked as a lecturer at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and as an engineer in ARACMO before joining Virginia Tech.

Elizabeth Worden

Elizabeth Anderson Worden ( is a comparative and international education scholar who examines how governments foster identities and belonging through education during social and political transition. Dr. Worden’s first book National Identity and Education Reform: Contested Classrooms (Routledge 2014) examines these issues in the context of Post-Soviet Moldova. Her current project focuses on teachers, citizenship education, and the legacy of educational reform in post-conflict Northern Ireland, which is the subject of her forthcoming book Citizenship Education in a Divided Society: Lessons from Curricula and Practice in Northern Ireland (Routledge 2023).  Dr. Worden’s work has also appeared in journals such as Comparative Education, Journal of European Education, Globalisation, Societies, and Education, and Comparative Education Review. 

Conference Organizing Committee

International Institute of Islamic Thought

Conference Coordinator
American University

Director, Institute for Innovation in Education
American University

Please follow this link for the recordings of the keynote and presentations for the November 11-13, 2022 Symposium. 

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