Transformations in Islamic Education in Ghana

by David Owusu-Ansah


Interview with Ahmed Tijan-Hassan

Date: July 24, 2006
The interview focuses on the challenges faced by the least endowed Muslim communities as they embrace secular education for their children at Muslim-run schools.

Interview with Al-Hajj Afa Sulemana

Date: July 20, 2005
This was a general interview about the Muslim community in Ghana and its internal structures; the nature of traditional leadership and how it is evaluated by the western educated Muslims. We also touched on the issue of inter-religious tolerance in Ghana and the reasons for such a high degree of accommodation.

Interview with Al-Hajj Husan Zakaria Umar

Date: July 13, 2005
This interview centered on the nature of Arabic language instruction at Islamic Education Unit schools in Ghana. It also touched on how private proprietor schools are adopting the Islamic Education curriculum without having to join the national Ghana Education Council system. The emphasis is on debunking the idea that Islamic schools are anti-secular and therefore pro-anti Western.

Interview with Al-Hajj Ibrahim Umar

Date: July 14, 2005
Al-Hajj Imam Ibrahim Umar centered his interview on Islamic orthodoxy and expressed concern about the old leadership that he described as more akin to mysticism. The Ahl-Sunna al-Jamait Group, over which he provided leadership, see themselves initially as protecting the integrity of the religion. The Imam also talked about the support he has for secular education—and in the end presents his group as more progressive.

Interview with Al-Hajj Rashid Gbadamosi

Date: July 14, 2005
The central purpose was our discussion of the genesis of the Islamic Education Unit of Ghana and the history of Muslim reactions to secular education. Also discussed in this interview is the increasing role of Iran in the provision of higher education in Ghana through its Islamic University College. As Registrar, the interview explored the institution's course offerings and how the public had reacted to them.

Interview with Alhajji Shaibu Armiyawo

Date: July 11, 2005
This interview and subsequent ones outside this project focused on the history of education in Ghana and the manner that Muslims in Ghana have reacted toward secular learning. The central issue is how best the Islamic Education Unit (as agency of the Ghana Education Service) can interest Muslims in secular education. The ability of the Unit to do so will contribute to sustaining religious tolerance in the country.

Interview with Dr. Elom Dovlo

Date: July 11, 2006
The purpose of this interview was to seek independent and scholarly reaction to issues arising from conversations with Ghanaian Muslim leaders. For example, had the national government supported secular education for Muslims sufficiently? What has been the historical relationship between Islamic NGO leaders and the traditional Muslim leadership? The conversation in this interview can serve as commentary on the others in this collection.

Interview with Mamuna Bintu al-Shaban

Date: July 20, 2006
Mamuna Bintu al-Shaban tells a personal story about the struggles of education for Muslim girls in Ghana but most importantly, she tells of the benefits that secular education provides for those who sustain the interest.

Interview with Maulvi Wahab bin Adam

Date: June 28, 2005
Maulvi Wahad provided this interview to illustrate the history of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana but most importantly to show the role of the Mission in the provision of secular education in the country. He also illustrated the moderating impact of the Mission on Islam in Ghana at the level that it has worked with other religions in the country.

Interview with Most Reverend Archbishop Justice O. Akrofi

Date: July 19, 2005
Purpose of interview was to have conversation about the role of the Anglican Church of Ghana in the provision of secular education as well as to investigate the methods adopted by the Church for inter-denominational tolerance. The pictures taken to correspond to the interview show a Church that is very well endowed and also very committed to the provision of public education.

Interview with Ms. Abdul Kadiri Ayishetu

Date: July 12, 2006
The interview centered on the activities of the Federation of Muslim Women of Ghana (FOMWAG) and its ability to interest young Muslim girls in schooling. The conversation aimed at exploring the issue of secular education for Muslim girls through the examination of the personal story of the interviewee.

Interview with National Chief Imam Al-Hajj Usman Nuhu Sharabutu

Date: July 16, 2006
The interview seeks a description of the functions of the National Chief Imam in a country where every administration region has its own chief Imam. Also in this interview, the Imam provides responses that will answer critics who question his commitment to secular education. Has the Islamic community leadership over whom Al-Hajj Sharabututhe is chief Imam become traditionalized?

Interview with Osman Braimah Barri

Date: July 13, 2005
Osman Barri makes the argument that Muslim children are capable for secular education. Using his personal story, he also argues that an educated Ghanaian Muslim is capable of remaining loyal to the country and the communities within.

Interview with Rev. Dr. Nathan Samwini,

Date: July 18, 2005
The interview focused on the function and structure of the Ghana Christian Council. The larger idea was to discuss the role of the Council in inter-denominational and inter-faith dialogue in the country.

Interview with Shaykh Muhammed Kamil

Date: July 2006
The major theme for this interview was on the issue of secular education for Muslim children. Azariyya School is a Muslim-proprietor program that has accepted a government secular curriculum but combines it with the school’s own Islamic religious education. How do such schools, where almost all the students are Muslims, contribute to national integration?