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Educational Reform and Adaptation

Session VI-20, 2022 Annual Meeting

On Friday, December 2 at 4:00 pm

Panel Description
  • Some of the main characteristics of the modern world are racial, cultural, ethnic, social, religious, and linguistic diversity. Although international and regional laws are in place to prevent racial, religious, gender, and age discrimination, much of the world still suffers from discriminative opinions, attitudes, and behaviors against some ethnic, cultural, and social minority groups. Iran is not an exception. As far as education is concerned, are there any tools to address the roots of discrimination? How can a curriculum based on multicultural understanding learning help reform the education system? By considering Banks' (1995) dimensions of multicultural education of content integration and equity pedagogy, this project aims at a content analysis of the Iranian National Art Education Curriculum to explore how much the components of multicultural education have been incorporated and embedded. For this purpose, the presentation reviews and analyzes the Iranian National Curriculum, 3rd edition, based on the five different sections of Art Education within this document. The analysis findings suggest making the Iranian art education programs genuinely diverse and multicultural might address some of the deep-rooted cultural discrimination. In addition to content analysis, this project and presentation benefit from educational methodologies and multicultural theories.
  • Private Islamic schooling has become part of the wider U.S. education system as their numbers have started to increase within the last two decades. Currently there are about 300 full time K-12 Islamic schools across 39 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Contrary to their preferred inconspicuous image in the past (Kearney, “To Ease Fears,”, 2017), these institutions are now outspoken about who they are, what they do, and why they exist. Most of them produce social media content by exhibiting their daily activities and success stories for promotional purposes on various platforms such as YouTube. At first glance, those videos may seem to have been produced with the intention of attracting new students/parents. However, they also consist of a unique narrative exemplifying “what matters to Muslim Americans” (e.g. safety, identity, socio-academic success, marginalization) so that their perpetuation in the wider American society can be assured as an overarching component. Examining such a narrative is the main focus of this study. Accordingly, I ask how discourse in action (visuals, images, etc.) and discourse as action (spoken language) is constructed to promote Islamic schools of the U.S. on YouTube. I use the following sub-questions to help explicate this: How do they incorporate religion into their educational discourse? What key issues dominate their rhetoric to advertise Islamic education in the wider American educational context? What are the visual elements of their mediated discourse that represent who they are? The research data consists of a 2-phased-transcription of the spoken language and of the mediated visual content shown of about 130 promotional YouTube videos that have been produced since 2010 (over 13 hours in length). By applying Critical Discourse Analysis, I use this data to analyze the nexus of their educational practice in the form of self-representation through understanding of the complexity of interrelationships between the speakers, their positionality, visuals shown, institutional structures presented, the intended audience, and the use of the selected vocabulary. Despite being a work in progress, my findings so far indicate that the narrative in these videos are constructed to serve two main purposes; to increase their enrollment and to present Islamic Schools as a safe environment where young Muslim Americans can feel included as they learn how to respond to the socio-cultural challenges of being a religious minority in the U.S. in the long term through construction of a religiously secure self.
  • Higher education is vital for personal development, economic growth, and an improved quality of life for individuals within a nation. However, on 15th August 1947 when India and Pakistan both became two independently governed nations, educational policies were dormant. The importance of well-educated individuals for national progress became evident as educational policies were devised and implemented. In contemporary life, both India and Pakistan have National Education Policies from 1947 which have been amended and used within modern day. However, the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic has cause global havoc affecting societies economically, socially, politically and causing major disruptions in higher education. This study aims to compare the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on higher education in India and Pakistan. There is a focus on civilization, culture, and society with the endeavor to facilitate progression in the new normal world. A comparative review is carried out via a systematic process of published and grey literature sources. A well-planned process is implemented to search, identify, extract from, analyze, evaluated, and interpret literature sources utilizing electronic and manual databases. Results have identified that the covid-19 pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities in both India and Pakistan. These inequalities have been identified to range from: Digital inequalities; poverty and financial implications; cultural disparities encompassing gender inequalities; religious neutrality; curriculum inequalities between higher education institutions facilitated by the eighteenth amendment in the constitution of Pakistan and differing views within the National Education Policy India. Indian and Pakistani civilizations have been affected similarly, as the compliance of lockdown regulations, personal protective equipment was implemented impacting upon student mental health, in addition to heightened social and cultural biases. Political instability has contributed to failure of educational policies and partial implementation of objectives stated within independent policies devised within higher educational institutions. This study has deduced that educational progression is vital for societal progress and requires modification in accordance with societal challenges encountered during the covid-19 pandemic. Through well-educated individuals social and cultural justice can be attained and inequalities eradicated. It is necessary for Indian and Pakistani higher education institutions to work in unison through technological resources and collaborate with international governing bodies and non-governmental organisations towards ensuring quality, unified education is accessible to students of all ages and facilitating societies towards a self-sustainable future aiding cultural and societal development. Keywords: Covid-19, Education, India, Pakistan, Society
  • When Israel occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem after the 1967 war — an event termed the Naksa, meaning "setback," by Palestinians — it took control of the education system for thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites. Since then, Israel's policies for education in East Jerusalem have been based in a colonialist logic reminiscent of the British Mandate era in Palestine. Three key ways Israel maintained colonial education policies in East Jerusalem in its first decade of occupation from 1967-1977 were through its differentiation of East Jerusalemites from its other occupied Palestinian populations, its changes to Palestinian curriculum, and its treatment of Palestinian secondary school students. These policies have continued to affect East Jerusalem education until today, manifesting in curricular censorship, high rates of private schooling, and major classroom shortages. However, despite this repression and underinvestment from the occupying power, many Palestinian individuals and organizations were able to assert their own educational goals in East Jerusalem. This paper investigates the complicated interplay of colonial policies, community resistance, and individual decision-making that shaped educational outcomes for East Jerusalemite school graduates in the first ten years of the occupation. I draw on oral history interviews with former Jerusalemite students and teachers, Palestinians memoirs, Jerusalem private schools archives, and articles on education by Palestinian scholars to argue that members of the Palestinian Jerusalemite community were often able to circumvent Israeli education policies through grassroots initiatives. This historical analysis of the lived education experiences formed via the contentious relationship between Palestinian-led initiatives, Israeli policies, and foreign education aid has larger implications for how Palestinian education fits into a wider history of colonialism's effects on education. Current scholarship on Palestinian education in East Jerusalem immediately after the Israeli occupation mostly consists of education reports that focus on the problems wrought by Israeli policies and include normative analyses for how to fix those issues today. However, I argue that in order to understand that historical period, Palestinian education must be studied within a framework of education under colonial rule rather than a prescriptive policy lens. My paper thus incorporates a more holistic exploration of the history of educational experiences in East Jerusalem to understand how some local initiatives were able to counter the goals of a colonial power. This paper thus challenges the narrative of pure educational stagnation common to summaries of the 1967-1977 period by centering the persistence of Palestinians in the education sphere in the face of occupation.
  • In 2016, members of the Turkish military attempted a coup d'etat. Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in the U.S., was accused by the Turkish government of perpetrating the coup. The Turkish government labeled Gulen and Gulen sympathizers as terrorists and thousands of people fled Turkey out of fear of limitations on their civil liberties or threat of imprisonment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 accused Gulen sympathizers in two U.S. states and participant observation was conducted in two Turkish community centers in two U.S. states. This work examines the intersection of politics, education, and conceptions of “home” and belonging in community-based spaces using members of this community as a case-study. There are three findings of significance: 1) there has been a noted shift from identification with Turkey to identification with the U.S., 2) language learning has shifted from solely Turkish to Turkish and English as a means for preparing the next generation for life in the U.S. rather than in Turkey, and 3) Islamic education and knowledge is being imparted for both spirtual purposes but also for preparation in dealing with Islamophobia. Broader findings therefore suggest that community-based spaces are impacted by political shifts and are therefore flexible in their approach to learning. They are surrogate spaces for learning religious practices, cultural traditions, and language when there has been a break from the country of origin of attendees. Additionally, these centers serve as sites for integration and activities related to it, as well as a communal reimagining of the “home” for those who have experienced political persecution in their country of birth.