Contents of Education

An Islamic Perspective towards Philosophy of Education

Introduction

Philosophy is the study of realities, pursuit of wisdom, and commentary on general principles of life. It is concerned with a search of eternal truth, both conceptual as well as practical. It has five areas of search – Epistemology, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, Ethics and History. The instrument used by philosophy to unearth realities or to discover truth is logic, both inductive as well deductive. Educational philosophy is a branch of general philosophy, it gains strength from epistemology. It formulates the aims and objectives or contents of education that, in turn, influence the whole learning environment, society, and future generations.

Philosophy of education is based on general principles of psychology, sociology, politics, economics, history, science, and religion. Education is dualistic phenomenon; it is static as well as dynamic. The major portion is dynamic or provisional and adjusts with the change and growth in knowledge, social structure, and civilization, while the minor but vital portion is static or eternal. We proposed that the contents of education are eternal while the application and explanation of these contents, a major portion, is dynamic. We assumed multi-disciplinary approach towards contents of education. The analysis accommodates the needs of individuals, society, and time and encompasses the cultural, social, and vocational aims of education.

Education may be formal as well as informal. The formal education is given in schools or colleges or universities, on the other hand informal education is obtained and absorbed from society and environment. Education, formal & informal, is developed and internalized in one’s personality through reflection and experience. It means all of us are learners during our lifetime. However, we are going to analyze the philosophy (aims & objectives) of formal education. Moreover, education has three levels – primary, secondary, and higher. Primary education deals with infants of 3 to 11 years old, secondary education covers teenagers of 12 to 18 years, and higher education shapes young learners of above 18 years. A distinctive approach is required for each level of education.

The contents of education vary from community to community. A secular society would have a different approach towards contents as compare to some ideological society. Moreover, the explanation or implementation of contents would be different in different societies. Our analysis is ideological and dominantly based on Islamic view towards education.

Terminology

The term “education” has been derived from the Latin words Educare, Educatum, or Educere. Educatum and educare mean to train and to nourish, while educere mean to lead out. The former implies that education is something external; to be imposed or put in from outside, it means the external environment plays a decisive role in learning process. The latter indicate growth from within; it means internal potentialities of an individual are decisive in learning process, the external environment has secondary role in educational process. Naturalists / Psychologists gave more importance to internal dispositions of learning process while the social philosophers put major stress on external demands of educational process. We assumed a mixed and balanced approach towards role and importance of internal-external environment of learning process.

Definition

Aristotle defined education as process necessary for the creation of a sound mind in a sound body, according to him, the aim & objective of education is to create good and virtuous citizens. Ibne Khaldun, in fourteenth century, expresses the view that education consists off intellectual, social, and moral training through which hidden potentialities are developed, traits of character are built and culture of the people is conveyed to the coming generations. Dewey, in twentieth century, defined education in these words: “Education is a process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is development of all those capacities in the individual that will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities.” We may define education as, Education is the mean whereby adults pass on and inculcates to children their knowledge, thought-pattern, and behavior pattern and develop their genetic potential to manage existing and future challenges.

Aims & Objectives – Islamic View

Islam is Divine religion. It is based on revealed book, Quran, and prophetic commentary, Hadith. The foremost responsibility and ultimate purpose of prophets and Revealed Books are to educate the mankind for better, happy, and purposeful life. They specify the purpose of life, outline the procedure to actualize it, and present a practical example of purposeful life. Thus, the aims and objectives of education or contents of education can be understood from the last Revealed Book, Al-Quran. We quote a verse of Al-Quran,

“Undoubtedly Allah did confer a great favor on the Muslims when He raised an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them the Revelations of Allah, and causeth them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and Wisdom whereas they were in manifest error before.” (Al-Quran)

The verse identifies aims and objectives of education. These are:

Faith Plantation
Knowledge Advancement
Wisdom Enhancement
Manner Development
A. FAITH

The word faith has various meanings and uses, however, the central meaning is similar to “conviction”, “belief”, “trust” or “confidence”, but unlike these terms, “faith” tends to imply a submissive and transpersonal relationship with God or with someone having superior powers. Faith is founded on certain beliefs; beliefs’ indispensability to faith is just like seeds’ inevitability to plants. A belief system has certain perceptual ingredients with practical implications. A living faith must fulfill two conditions, the necessary condition is logical reasoning and sufficient condition is practical fruits for believers / mankind. A living faith gives stability to the believer, creates dynamism in one’s personality, brings fruits in one’s life, promotes cohesiveness among the believers, and assigns a specific shape to a group with peculiar traits.

We mention a few verses of the Holy Quran to outline and explain the basic elements of Islamic Faith.

“A Glorious Book this! Which has nothing of doubt in it; it is guidance for the God-conscious who fear Allah. Those who believe in the Unseen and establish prayer and spend in Our way out of what We have provided them. And those who believe in that which has been sent down to you (O My Apostle) and in that which was sent down before you, and they also have faith in the August Day of Judgment. They are the ones who are rightly guided, and verily it is they who are successful in both the worlds.” (Al-Quran)

The first thing that the Quran does it removes the element of doubt, which is the foremost requisite of modern philosophy by introducing the faith as a fundamental factor behind reality. Doubt is a negative factor that hinders the exact understanding of reality; curiosity is far better alternate to doubt for knowledge development or to unearth realities. The faith concomitantly presupposes some obligatory beliefs – Unity of God, Unseen System (Angels, Heaven, Hell, etc.), Revealed Books, Institution of Prophets, Day of Judgment, Fate, and Life after Death. In addition, it imposes some obligations on believers – Kalimah (a confession of faith), prayer, fasting, alms giving, and pilgrimage. It is noteworthy that the idea of Unity of God must create the belief of mankind’s unity.

The Islamic approach towards faith is that it is revealed, explained, and planted through reverent personalities, i.e., prophets; a faith based on personal reasoning is not acceptable in Islam, the finality of prophets’ wording about faith elements is also essential. In addition, a loving and trustful posture towards prophets is fundamental for complete faith, without it faith is incomplete or objectionable. The very foundation of faith is thus love and submission to a reverent personality or a prophet. Simply, faith can be defined as accepting something true which has been told by someone who is believed to be trustworthy / praiseworthy.

The object behind development of faith is to make stable and balance psycho-spiritual formation of human personality. The prophets are sent as practical role modals and revealed books are accompanied as permanent working manual for guideline. The ultimate aim of developing faith elements is to equip the individual with necessary working tools to manage and tackle the conceptual or practical issues of life, either, big or small, simple or complex, independent or interlinked, a few or many, with fortitude and firmness. Thus, determination is necessary outcome of faith, no determination, than no faith.

Islam vehemently put forward two aspects of faith – human and transcendental. The human aspects propose the concept of unity of mankind, while the transcendental aspects propose the idea of Unity of God. Faith is incomplete if one aspect is ignored or not forcefully defined. In addition, the ignorance of one aspect makes the human personality lopsided and unstable. The repercussions of wrong belief about unity of mankind and Unity of God are manifold and penetrating to each and every aspect of human society. It can lead the nations into some kind of continuous strife and belligerent attitude towards each other. Moreover, the effects of wrong belief go beyond the present generations’ outlook and disturb the peace and tranquility of future generations, as well.

B. KNOWLEDGE

It is the understanding of the factual/declarative, procedural and conceptual aspects of something that a person acquires through education, observation and experience. Acquisition of knowledge is basic demand of human nature. It plays vital role in growth and development of a person or a nation.

1. Bases of Human Knowledge: -Let us quote some verses of the Quran on the subject:

And recall when your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to appoint a vice-regent in the earth.” They said: “Will You set in the earth such as will make mischief and cause bloodshed, whereas we celebrate Your praise and glorify You.” Allah said:” Surely I know that which you know not.”And Allah taught Adam the names of all things. Then He set them before the angels saying: “Tell Me the names of these if you are really truthful (in your opinion)” They said: “Glory to You! We have no knowledge what You have taught us. In truth, You alone are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Allah said:’ O Adam! Tell them the names of these things.” Then Adam had told the angels the names of those things, Allah said: “Did I not tell you that I know full well all the hidden mysteries of the heavens and the earth and I know whatever you disclose and whatever you have been concealing?

The verses manifest that the human nature has been made inherently fit and capable of receptivity and absorption of Divine Knowledge. Moreover, Adam’s knowledge has ability to conceptualize the things in nature. Thirdly, man has ability to develop language because Adam assigned names to items without prior formal training. These verses also show that the first man of the earth came down fully abreast of scientific knowledge, in full monopoly to develop it for natural conquest. According to Quran, than the program of human activity should proceed hand in hand with the divine cooperation and blessing, before the plan was being carried on unilaterally in which God has no vice-regent. The verses also indicate that a man has free will to choose right or wrong path of life. There is no external compulsion on his free choice. The verses also indicate that the mankind has strong tendency towards injustice and strife, however, it can be managed through human knowledge and is restrained by the Will of God.

2. Types of knowledge: -Knowledge can be classified into following groups:

Natural Sciences: -Natural sciences deals with inanimate objects of universe. The major branches are physics, chemistry, and astronomy.
Biological Sciences: -Biological Sciences deals with animate objects of universe. The major branches are zoology, botany, and psychology.
Social Sciences: -Social Sciences deals with collective life and relationship between individual and society. The major branches are sociology, political science, and economics.
Professional Sciences: -Professional Sciences deals with professions of individuals necessary for human survival / quality of life. The major branches are medicine, engineering, and commerce.
Islam accepts the scientific classification of knowledge, however, it proposed a broader taxonomy of knowledge for mankind:-

First, Absolute verses Dubious Knowledge. The absolute knowledge is based on some scientific facts or given through some reverent personality (i.e., prophets) in a shape of Revealed Book (e.g., Quran). The dubious knowledge is based on subjective analysis (e.g., the theory of psycho-analysis proposed by Freud.). Second, Fruitful verses Fruitless Knowledge. The fruitful knowledge gives benefit to mankind (e.g., natural sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, and, professional sciences.) while the fruitless knowledge is of no use for mankind (e.g., occult sciences).

3. Aspects of Knowledge: -A peace of knowledge can be broken into three categories or has three aspects – Declarative, Procedural & Conceptual.

Declarative Knowledge: -It is knowledge about something, e.g., structure of body, structure of computer, format of earth, and parts of speech. It deals with WHAT type of questions.
Procedural Knowledge: -It is knowledge about the procedures and sequences. It narrates and explains procedures & sequences of any compiled information or data, that is, it deals with HOW & WHEN type of questions. For example, HOW computer is manufactured or used, WHEN computer is ready to use or sale.
Conceptual Knowledge: -It is knowledge of concepts working behind the declarative and procedural knowledge. It is abstract aspect of knowledge. In conceptual knowledge, the relationship among concepts is also discussed. It deals with WHY type of questions. For example, the mathematical concepts and their relationship with each other that provide basis to the working of computer hardware or software.
C. WISDOM

Knowledge enables us to understand the realties of things (i.e., Divine Scheme of Creation, Natural System of Growth, natural forces, and history) and wisdom equip us with abilities to utilize the realities for the benefit of self and others. According to Islam, wisdom is higher level attribute, it comes after knowledge. Wisdom is bestowed when will of man is replaced by Will of God and human understanding is fully exploited, thus, wisdom is based on knowledge and intellect. Let us quote a verse to make it clear:

“He bestows wisdom upon whom He will, and whosoever is granted wisdom he is indeed granted abundant good and none accepts admonition except men of understanding.”

(Al-Quran)

Islam proposed two diagonally opposites aspects of wisdom – Divine Wisdom and devil wisdom. The Divine Wisdom is based on right faith and fruitful knowledge and produce good results for self and mankind, materially as well as spiritually, while the devil wisdom is based on wrong faith and fruitless knowledge and leads the mankind towards only worldly or material benefits, completely ignoring the benefits of others and spiritual benefits. The devil wisdom guides for self benefits at the cost of others, however, the devil / worldly wisdom is short-lived and weak, ultimately fails to materialize her lopsided designs.

Character-Sketch of a Wise Person

Wisdom is personalized, established, and manifested through struggle. A person fully involved in chores of life would qualify for wisdom. Seclusion or solitude is very negation of wisdom, while the participation is very basis of wisdom. A wise person pursue his goals/responds the problems of life with certain characteristics. These characteristics are essential working tools of a wise individual that give him/her edges over non-wise. The prominent attributes of a wise person are – Effective Communication, Enthusiasm, Discipline or Rigor, Decision Power, Sense of Responsibility, Moderate Behavior, Self-Confidence or High Morale or Courage, and Appropriate Appearance.

D. BEST MANNERS

Manners are countless, structurally, and diverse, practically. However, the essence of good manners is constant for all and sundry, it is humility. Humility is unique positive attribute of human personality; it is an attribute as well as essence of every positive attribute. Absence of humility makes the existence of all manners a soul-less ritual unable to produce fruitful results for self and others. A proud person is ill-mannered and creates problems for self and others.

Manners have two aspects – inner and outer. Inwardly, manners are shaped by dynamic organization of all the perceptions, intentions, and emotions of an individual and the behavior that results from the organization of these aspects, while, outwardly; they are shaped by social acceptance of behavior. Simply,conformity to some rationally defined and morally established interactive standards is considered best manners. Manners are developed under the guidance of intellect, knowledge, wisdom, social norms, and religion. They are time-honored phenomena. The reasonably/indisputably evolved set of manners creates order, consistency and continuity in one’s life and gives beautiful look to an individual or society. Manners are forerunner of culture and give longevity to civilizations. A society of ill-mannered persons will not be able to survive, at least with respect and recognition.

Bases of Best Manners

Man is combination of three basic realities, i.e., body, mind, and soul. Body has certain physical needs for survival or continuation of life such as food, water, and sleep, mind has some instinctual desires for interactive life such as parental instinct, gregarious instinct, learning instinct, and sex instinct, and soul has some ingrained urges towards moral excellence. Body needs are fulfilled by physical powers, psychological instincts are satisfied by mind powers such as will-power, decision-power, and emotional-power, soul urges are calmed by spiritual powers such as insight and intuition. A sustained manifestation of countless human efforts to satisfy body needs, psychological instincts, and soul urges shapes human personality. In addition, physical balance or health depends on diet, leisure time, proper sleep, and constructive physical activities. Mind normality or peace of mind hinges on positive approach towards intentions, perceptions and emotions. Soul is satisfied by rationally-intuitively defined belief system. A balanced approach towards physical health, mental satisfaction, and spiritual contentment give shape to mannered personality. Moreover, a mannered life is formed and improved through several group interactions such as social relations, economic dealings, political contacts, and customary connections.

Concluding Remarks

The aforementioned elaboration about contents of education – faith, knowledge, wisdom & personality traits or manners – manifests that educational institutions should have a comprehensive approach towards learning. They plant FAITH, give KNOWLEDGE, equip with WISDOM and develop PERSONALITY / MANNERS to face existing and upcoming challenges of life. Each aspect has its own importance and indispensability, one cannot be left at the expense of other, and all is needed. It is noteworthy that only a content-based educational system can produce fruits for society, coming generations and concerned individuals. On the bases of whole analysis, we propose two sample Mission Statements of educational institutions.

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Project Management – What’s It All About?

Project Management is the planning and management of a range of tasks, particularly where there are complexities either within the tasks or within the teams working on the project, in order to achieve a deliverable at the end of the project. A deliverable can be many things; it may be a physical thing such as a new product, it may be an intangible thing such as a new process within an organisation or it may be a new software system.Whatever the end result of the project, it will involve some type of change within a business. The change could be a modification to the existing status quo or it could be introducing something completely new, so change management is also an element of project management.A project that is going to be formally managed within an organisation could be in any area of the business, but the most common areas in which project management tools and techniques will be useful are:IT
customer services
product manufacture
new business development
premises
administrative tasks and processes
financial, legal and professional procedures
health and safety requirements
research and developmentIf the desired final outcome cannot be accurately predicted with certainty, then project management techniques will be required to plan and organise tasks, assess the risks and ensure the resources are available to deliver a successful outcome.So what exactly are the stages of managing a project? Listed below are the fundamental stages of managing any project; each of these may contain many sub-stages, particularly for more complex projects:Document the Business RequirementsThe business requirements document should accurately, and in detail, describe the purpose of the project. It states what is needed to achieve that goal i.e. what is in-scope, what is out-of-scope, any assumptions that have been made, any constraints that have been imposed and expected timescales. The document will form the definitive description of the aims of the project and, as such, can be used to manage the expectations of the stakeholders. It will also include acceptance criteria that will ultimately be used to judge whether the project was a success.The production and agreement of the business requirements is a substantial part of the overall project schedule and may take many iterations before it is finally approved.The project manager usually works with other departments or teams to put the document together. They will probably use Brainstorming and Interviewing techniques to help with this process and may even build a prototype.Document the Functional SpecificationThe business requirements state what is required but do not specify how the deliverable will actually work. So in many projects with a tangible and technically sophisticated deliverable, it is very common to produce additional documentation about the look and feel of the end product. The functional specification describes not only how the end product will look but also how an end-user will actually use it and what the user-experience will be like.This document should contain sections that specifically relate to each of the requirements in the business requirements document so that every functional item can be tracked back to an original business need.Create the Project PlanThe project plan will include details about the various tasks required to complete the project, the people and equipment involved, time estimates, dependencies, milestones and the overall timescalesThe tasks need to be scheduled in the correct order and dependencies between tasks factored in. In complex projects several tasks will be performed in parallel to maximise the total project time. The plan will also take account of the project budget.There are many project management techniques and tools available, some of the most common being Critical Path Analysis Flow Diagrams and Gantt Charts.A Critical Path Analysis diagram uses a linear timeline to identify dependent tasks and is particularly used on large, complex projects which may have hundreds of dependent activities. These diagrams highlight dependent tasks that overlap and, therefore, require adjustments to the schedule.A Gantt Chart is an excellent project management tool for the scheduling, budgeting and reporting of a project. The easiest, but perhaps not the most useful, tool for creating Gantt Charts is MSProject. Each task is listed on the left-hand side of the chart with a timeline shown on the right. Milestones can be easily marked and the schedule and costs can be easily updated where necessary.Every project should have a contingency allowance for both time and budget as there is always a tendency to under-estimate tasks, particularly when under pressure to deliver as soon as possible. Indeed, in practise, many project managers are not given the luxury of estimating the total time required but are likely to be given a fixed end date and the project tasks have to be fitted into the time available.Project management also includes identifying and managing potential risks as well as managing the change associated with most projects.Assign Project TasksAll of the tasks listed on the project plan need to be assigned to an individual or team. The person or persons responsible for a task will need to know in detail what the task involves and also the dependencies and timescales, which can be clearly communicated to them using the Gantt Chart. The timescales must be realistic and, in practise, the project manager will probably have discussed timescales with the team before the schedule was finalised. They will also need to understand the criteria by which each task is determined as complete.People Management The role of a project manager is very diverse and one of the most vital skills is good people management. The most carefully planned projects will go awry if the team is not motivated, encouraged and kept informed. Regular scheduled meetings provide a formal way of doing this but do not overlook the casual conversations that are often more informative for the project manager and easier opportunities to encourage individuals at a more personal level.Review ProgressRegularly review estimates, deadlines and milestones to check they are still on schedule. If necessary, update the plan with new estimates and tasks and ensure that remaining tasks are necessary and estimates are still valid. Circumstances can change during a project but question every change and always refer back to the original business requirement as a corss-reference.Notify stakeholders of project progress at regular intervals and gain their approval for any changes that substantially impact the deadline, budget or deliverables.Project Acceptance, Implementation and Follow-UpOnce the final product has been fully tested, staff have been trained (where necessary) and the stakeholders have signed-off the project then it can be implemented in the working environment. It is probably a rare project that is 100% successful but whatever the final outcome of the project always aim to find some element that was a success and make sure you reflect positively on the successful parts. Hold team reviews to learn from both the successes and the mistakes and take the time to write a report documenting any remaining issues that need to be followed up.

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How to Learn Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is an essential part of all business models. Unless you sell directly on the web, you would like to encourage customers to come to your site and see types of your skills, or join a discussion. Whether you possess your very own business and should try to learn online marketing strategies or you want to pursue a profession in marketing, there are a true number of ways you can gather the skills needed to be an Internet marketing professional. You can decide to join classes, or find out and research the fundamentals of Internet marketing free of charge.Method 1: Starting out in Internet Marketing1) Browse the net. In case you are older, nor have much knowledge with the Internet, the very first thing you must do is get familiar with online promotion, such as banner advertisements on the relative sides of web pages, online shopping and on-line marketplaces, such as for example Craigslist, eBay and amazon. If you don’t have the basic Computer and internet skills necessary to accomplish buying, navigating and selling the web, you should join classes then. Low-cost or free of charge classes are given by neighborhood libraries and Lifelong Learning classes often.2) Join social mass media accounts. The easiest method to understand social mass media is to dive involved with it. Sign up for free of charge accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+.3) Seek a level in advertising with a concentrate on online or online marketing. If you are just leaving high school and you are thinking about marketing and business, this is probably the best path for you personally then. Research marketing programs that concentrate on Internet marketing and learn the basics 1 course at a right time. After completion, you will be ready for an entry-level job at a marketing firm. You may use your knowledge to advertise your own items or ideas also.4) Take an Online marketing class, in case you are unfamiliar with the essential steps of business advertising and online advertising. If you don’t know how to setup accounts, create a website, make use of Google work or providers with a graphic/internet developer, this may end up being the easiest method to learn. Many businesses provide this online marketing tutorial program. You can join it on the web for a cost from $50 to $1,000. If you can, hire and instructor, that way you can obtain an interactive education.Method 2: Understanding Online Marketing Basics1) Learn the basics of Internet analysis, if you would like to learn online marketing for free. For anybody who knows the fundamentals of social media, SEO (SEO), Google news and website building blocks, you can likely learn Online marketing by yourself then. A big component of advertising is understanding your competition, market and data analysis.* Determine your market. This is something that should be obvious from the moment you select an ongoing service or item to market. However, you may want to research what part of that marketplace is on-line and what part is done through mobile phone or in-person sales.* Determine who your primary online competitors are. Analysis how they work, how they market and what size of you be shared by market believe they have. Join e-newsletters, research their pr announcements and determine the weaknesses and strengths of every online competitor. You may need to buy something from them to be able to know how they complete their product sales process.* Determine who your ideal client is. For just about any product, you need to be capable to see who’s buying the product. Once you determine your demographic, you can determine where they spend their period on the Internet.2) Interpret the info which you have gathered. Produce reviews using Google Analytics, spreadsheets or software program that show the marketplace, customer and competition data. You can get software or on the web which will help you make reviews or charts showing where your ideal consumer is purchasing and who your primary competitors are. That is especially important if you have superiors to that you must provide results. Although you could be able to turn data into a strategy easily, graphs and reports are crucial to be able to communicate that data to individuals who control the budget. Spend time making in depth reports and building a PowerPoint presentation predicated on your research perhaps.3) Create a strategy. Utilize the conclusions and research from your own reports to develop an effective strategy to achieve your target demographic. Begin by using the techniques which were successful for your competition, search for more innovative techniques then. Your strategy shall probably require a budget to employ writers to accomplish SEO articles, graphic designers to accomplish ads, and web site designers to revise or create an internet site. You may even need to hire visitors to update your business’s cultural media accounts daily.4) Create internet marketing campaigns and monitor them well. Ensure that your site uses analytics or make use of Google Analytics to ensure that you understand which methods are effective and that are not. That is a forgotten guideline of online marketing often, but it may be the only method to see your return of investment (ROI).* Internet marketing nearly includes launching many promotions at once always, which explains why they are thus important to track. A website might be marketing through e-mail blasts, You Tube videos, public media accounts, internet banners, online marketers, SEO, weblogs and more.* Understand that see’s are the important to many online marketing. Companies are looking for methods to ensure their site and item are being listed on the first web page of a Google, Bing or yahoo search.

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