Empowerment in Islamic Schools in Yogyakarta and Sydney

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Zulkipli Lessy
Mahmud Arif


The function of empowerment is to equip people with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives that can sustain and improve both personal and societal well-being. Empowerment can occur by means of education, as well as by supportive programs in social work, community development, and philanthropy. Especially when intended for the poor, marginalized, or minority students, such programs should be well-focused on methods for building long-term capabilities and for strengthening societal participation. Our investigation documented empowerment methods and effects in three Islamic-based, partially statefunded, co-educational schools, one located in Yogyarkarta, Indonesia, and two located in Sydney, Australia. The study gathered individual and group accounts from teachers, academic staff, and parents at these schools. Their accounts were examined with reference to the educational precepts valued by the schools and their communities. This qualitative case-study used interviews, focus group discussions, and review of selected documents to examine the significance of education as implemented through curricula that includes moral education. The findings illustrate how such programs serve as empowerment for students toward fulfilling spiritual, economic, and social needs. Islamic moral education was seen to be embedded in many courses, including languages, arts, culture, social studies, sports, and science. This research found that there is an urgency for Islamic schools to grow their resources in order to remain viable, to provide powerless children with access to education, and to empower these students through curricular and extracurricular activities.


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