Toward Sustainable Islamic Communities in Malaysia: The Role of Islamic-Based Higher Education Institutions (IHEIs)
The higher education sector in Malaysia has already become a major source of income for the country. Malaysia needs only to raise the nation’s higher education system to enhance the appeal and competitiveness in the region and beyond. The Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint 2015–2025 aimed to prepare the country’s tertiary education system to meet the challenges of the future. The Blueprint introduces ten shifts which included developing holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates, talent excellence, nation of lifelong learners, quality TVET graduates, financial sustainability, empowered governance, innovation ecosystem, global prominence, globalised online learning and transformed higher education delivery. Currently, the role of most higher education institutions (HEIs) in Malaysia is to generate human capital, focused more on marketability rather than producing a good person. In this context, Islamic-based higher education institutions (IHEIs) have transformed themselves to be relevant to current situations without losing their traditional Islamic values. IHEIs have been committed to pursuing the integration of Islamic and modern knowledge in producing holistic and balanced Muslim communities for the development of the nation. Muslims are obligated to master various forms of knowledge beginning with the Islamic traditional knowledge of faith (aqidah), Islamic law and morals (akhlak). The understanding of the Islamic knowledge together with that of the modern world can lead to the emergence of new modern knowledge in line with Islamic requirements. This paper seeks to examine practices of the integration of knowledge in governance and management, curriculum, teaching and learning (T&L) and research and development (R&D). To undertake this task, focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted among 273 undergraduate students from different faculties. This study consisted of in-depth face-to-face interviews with 30 institutional leaders, middle-level management, academics and registrars in 2 public and 2 private IHEIs and 11 respondents from the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to get the scenario of the IHEIs in Malaysia. The findings showed that the integration of Islamic knowledge and modern knowledge has managed to produce well-balanced communities for nation development. This paper intends to highlight the concept of integration of Islamic and modern knowledge and the challenges that need to be addressed to make it a reality for the Muslim communities.
KeywordsIHEIs Integration of knowledge Muslim communities
This study is based on a larger research project entitled “East-West-Islamic Tradition and The Development of Hybrid Universities in Malaysia” led by Morshidi Sirat and Chang Da Wan, with coresearchers Molly Lee, Munir Shuib, Hazri Jamil, Toh Guat Guan, Nur Rafidah Asyikin Idris and Heng Wen Zhuo. This study is funded by the Universiti Sains Malaysia Research University Grant: 1001/CIPPTN/816264. We also wish to thank all participants who were interviewed for this study.
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