Posted on September 28, 2013

Contemporary pedagogy needs to be reformed in both the Arab and Western world said, Dr Tariq Ramadan (pictured), Executive Director of the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) last week.

He made these sentiments during a public seminar entitled ‘Education: Ethics and Goals’ held at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, which inaugurated CILE’s new public lecture series. Dr Ramadan criticised contemporary pedagogy in both the Arab and the Western world, highlighting the consequences of their respective weaknesses by interpreting the meaning of education, differentiating it from similar terms.

He addressed the concept of ‘purposeful knowledge’, which he said should be accompanied by freedom in order to maintain individual dignity. “This purposeful knowledge is closely connected with the concept of legal obligation (taklif) and requires independent thought and critical thinking. It also entails assuming our individual responsibilities by first abandoning the victim attitude, in order for us to then make courageous decisions,” said Dr Ramadan.

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Acquiring ‘purposeful knowledge’ requires the study of revealed texts along with that of reality and the status quo, he added, as the careful reflection of such literature will foster a better understanding of contextual reality.

Dr Ramadan said, “It [purposeful knowledge] necessitates avoiding cognitive isolation, in addition to linking schools to their surrounding environment,by adopting the principle of social solidarity. This kind of purposeful knowledge cannot be fulfilled without first acquiring aesthetic and artistic characteristics through the promotion of creativity.”

He added that humility plays a pivotal role in the acquisition of ‘purposeful knowledge’. The seminar went on to spark an audience debate about the various pedagogical problems, resulting from a lack of institutional ethics.

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