Girls lead the way in virtual madrasah

 
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The Husayni Madrasah Girls’ Section (HMGS) of KSIJ Dar es Salaam have achieved new milestones in establishing virtual learning sessions during the coronavirus pandemic. The highlight of this is the online Darsa program for all their girls during this Holy Month of Ramadhan 1441 AH.

Credit for the smooth transition to distance learning goes to the staff of HMGS. The Principal, Sister Shaida Abdulrasul, acknowledges the 24/7 efforts of the Vice Principal Sister Sukaina Habib, Head of the Qur’an Department, Sister Kaneez Dharamsi and the academic and Qur’an teams. It is the teachers who came up with the proposals and worked to make it happen. The HMGS Team is a Ladies Committee that functions under the Husayni Madrasah of KSIJ Dar es Salaam.

This group of ladies overcame a range of technical challenges [read the story “Necessity is the mother of inventionhere] and won praise from IT giant Cisco in the process – a remarkable achievement!

Passion and persistence

The focus of HMGS has been that the children and youth of the community do not miss out on their learning, especially in the Holy Month of Ramadhan. This new project initially posed some challenge as the teaching staff are of various ages and experience and not all are conversant with technology. However, they took it up with determination.

Sister Shaida shared with us an overview of some steps taken to serve their students with the usual academic and Qur’an sessions during this pandemic and leading into the Holy Month.

Academic Learning: To overcome the challenge of continued internet availability and access to devices, teachers prepared video clips and this was filtered out to the students as per the normal Saturday morning routine. Learning was measured using a 48-hour online quiz, activities and games. This was done to serve all the 830 students enrolled at HMGS.

For the younger classes, fun learning continues over Ramadhan. These amazing teachers led by their Head of Department Sister Zishan e Fatema Karim have created customised audiobooks on themes of Asmaul husna and akhlaq using a variety of presentation styles.

Additionally, they send out no-print activities and host occasional live sessions to keep the young ones connected to their teachers. The HMGS audiobooks are available on the Husayni Madrasah Girls Section YouTube channel here

Qur’an Time: Having experienced distance learning on the cyber platforms, the team could now envisage having the annual Darsa setup as an online activity! Alhamdullilah, 280 girls of ages eight to 15 have been enrolled in 35 Qur’an Darsa Benches. These one-hour sessions are conducted simultaneously on a daily basis and supported by a team of 75 ladies including teachers, assistants and admin. Each bench is monitored by the admin team who are on standby to troubleshoot and support.

The tadabbur sessions on Surah Rahman are also sent to the students. This year’s theme was carefully selected to highlight gratitude and change mindsets to seek the good in every situation, more so during this pandemic. The climax will be the live online quiz planned to bring all the students to one learning platform.

The Head of Qur’an Department, Sister Kaneez Dharamsi, and her team have played a vital role in pushing forward this year’s Virtual Darsa Project.

Innovative and creative

Sister Shaida Abdulrasul said: “We are grateful to have had the prospect of exploring new areas and rising to the challenge of maintaining continuity in the education of our students. This was a concern for parents and teachers alike and Alhamdullilah we were able to fulfil the need. While we first thank Allah (S) for this opportunity, we would also like to appreciate Br. Abbas Aly for being very prompt in helping us set up the Cisco WebEx platform for our Qur’an Classes. His continued support from across the globe has been instrumental in the functioning of the lessons.

“I must add my deepest respect and gratitude for my team of staff. These are ladies mostly from professions other than education; however they have embraced teaching at HMGS with zeal. Having undergone minimal training to acquaint with the new platform, they now operate akin to professionals using a variety of innovative and creative methodologies in their online classes. Teaching is rightly being transformed to suit the changing needs of our learners and I am so proud of my team! You can view some of our work on the DarTabligh-KSIJ Facebook and Instagram pages.

“This experience has increased the appreciation for madrasah and we look forward to the near future when we can merge our newfound skills with regular classes on campus. Furthermore, we have and appreciate the support and encouragement of our Dsm Tabligh Board. They give us the space and trust to explore and materialize our projects.”

Standout moment

Pivotal in providing access to these technologies was the Imam Hasan Center in Sydney, in particular Brother Abbas Aly. He said: “I was very grateful to have the opportunity to assist the Husayni Madrasah, Dsm, and was very proud of how quickly the team managed to get up to speed and the enthusiasm in getting trained: 45 teachers connected to the first training session.

“Overcoming challenges of old technology and various other obstacles the team really demonstrated ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. One of the standout moments is when they requested technical support on monitoring multiple sessions on one computer. A simple question that stumped even the technical support at Cisco (not a usual request), and a few minutes later an answer was sent through from the Husayni Madrasah team with a solution – a solution later acknowledged by the Cisco support.

“Although technology did play a part in the success of the Husayni Madrasah Qur’an training sessions, it was the commitment, passion and care for their students by the teachers and volunteers that made it a real success. May God bless them all and accept all their efforts.”

AFED – FAC

A partnership exists between Africa Federation (AFED) and the Federation of Australasia Communities (FAC) to strengthen regional ties and cross-transfer skills. This partnership puts into effect the training and implementation of Cisco Web Services including video conferencing, cloud services, online learning and using virtual spaces to create and disseminate information. This facility can be used to benefit the community.

Read here about the new Madrasah Centre of Excellence online platform. This is a monumental achievement and quite visionary in both approach and execution.

Read here about madrasah teachers around the world excelling online.

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