This exciting National Project fills a vital gap, Islamic schools in their relatively short history not having previously formulated a collNatioective whole-of-field education document of this kind. Primarily, the stimulus paper aims to increase understanding of shared Islamic school milestones, priorities, and aspirations. It is also hoped to enable partners and collaborators to engage more readily as they appreciate the distinct, innovative, and purposeful educational approaches valued and advanced in Australian Islamic schools.

Mindful that Islamic schools in Australia are located within the Independent School sector, and do not operate via an internal top-down system, rather a horizontal collective, the stimulus paper cannot and will not impose itself as a mandatory policy directive. Nor will it reductively present merely as a series of motherhood statements. Instead, purposefully, the stimulus paper is intended to be offered as a pedagogical resource for Islamic school communities to stimulate reflection, cultivate reconnection, and inspire renewal.

Importantly, the Shared Vision for Islamic Schooling in Australia, to be outlined in the stimulus paper, will not replace, or minimise individual or local Islamic school visions, philosophies, strategic priorities, or educational approaches. Rather it will propose to enhance connectedness, coherence, and collective consciousness in Islamic schooling in Australia without diminishing individual school distinction.

The stimulus paper, currently in draft form, will soon enter a national consultation phase to capture wider voice and perspective and critical feedback from Islamic school leaders and educators. Concurrently, the stimulus paper will be scrutinised by an esteemed panel of national and international reviewers (scholars/academics across overlapping fields of education, Islamic education, Islamic Studies).

National Consultation Phase

ISAA and CITE will soon be reaching out to school leaders in all Islamic schools in Australia to elicit their involvement and contribution and that of their educator teams to the consultation phase. All Islamic schools across Australia will be invited to become signatories to the stimulus paper.

For Islamic school leaders and/or educators who wish to register for and contribute to the consultation process, or who would like to join the review committee, and/or be added to our mailing list for updates on when the document will be released, please email cite@unisa.edu.au.

Launch Date

Following the outcome of the national consultation, CITE/ISAA intend to launch the inaugural stimulus paper in June of this year in an open National Virtual Forum.

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Features of the Draft Stimulus Paper

  • Opens with a brief historical background of Islamic Schooling in Australia;
  • Organised around 3 key themes: Learners, Learning, and Leading Learning;
  • Draws out around 3 core themes the rich conceptual thought and practice of learning and teaching embedded in the Islamic tradition;
  • Has at its centrepiece a diagrammatic Educational Framework, invoking the analogy of a tree – illustrating interconnections between the Islamic tradition (roots), a shared vision of Islamic education between all Islamic schools (trunk), and diverse ways a school can be ‘Islamic’ (branches).
  • Reconnects with foundational educational concepts and commitments in the Islamic tradition considering contemporary educational thought and policy and practice realities;
  • Outlines alignment with National Policy texts: i.e. The Education Goals for Young Australians outlined in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration; Australian Curriculum; The Early Years Learning Framework; and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

 Background on the journey towards an Inaugural Stimulus Paper

Geneses of project

Discussions on the need for a stimulus paper began during the Annual Islamic Schooling in Australia conference in July 2017. Board members of ISAA along with faculty from CITE identified the need for a shared vision similar to other faith schooling communities in Australia. Inspired by stimulus papers and strategic plans in Catholic, Lutheran, and Aboriginal educational communities, CITE and ISAA set a priority to endeavour a similar exercise. Over the next 3 years, the steering committee was established to define the purpose, intent, and audience of such a stimulus paper, review and reflect on similar statements from other communities, and brainstorm collective challenges, aspirations, and motivations that define the distinction of Islamic schooling in Australia.

Working Group

The working group consisted of 13 active members that included Islamic school leaders and academics from CITE. Attempts were made at successive annual Islamic schooling conferences in 2018 and 2019 to reach out to and invite educators from across the sector. Between 2018-2020, the working group convened quarterly via Zoom along with an annual retreat during conferences to push this project forward.

Authors and Contributors

Document drafts were written by Mr. Dylan Chown and Dr. Nadeem Memon from CITE/UniSA in 2020 based on a combination of steering committee articulations of aims of objectives of Islamic schooling in Australia and a reading of contemporary Islamic educational thought. The design of the document was graciously funded by ISAA. Internal reviews of draft versions by the working group were held in May 2020 and February 2021.

Towards launch

An open National Consultation is to be held from April 2021 until the official launch of the stimulus paper in July 2021 at an open National Virtual Forum.

Post Launch

Education is in a constant state of flux - new policies, new research, new ideas, new challenges, and new opportunities. In Islamic schooling circles this is spoken of as an ongoing process of renewal. In this spirit, the stimulus paper is designed as a resource that captures a ‘Shared Vision for Islamic Schools in Australia from 2021 – 2025. Throughout this period, it is envisioned as an open document requiring a process of renewal for a renewed stimulus paper in 2026, biithnillah.