Islamic studies growing in popularity, report shows

The number of students on Islamic studies programmes has risen in the last four years, according to a new report.

Islamic studies growing in popularity, report shows
The number of students on Islamic studies programmes has risen in the last four years, according to a new report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).

The study found students taking Islamic studies, either as a full degree or part of one, rose by 12% between 2002 and 2006, compared with the 7% rise across all subjects.

A total of 635 students were taking Islamic studies across all year groups in 2005/6, 188 of whom were at first degree level.

The findings will help Hefce decide where to allocate the £1m extra funding announced by the government in June to help improve the teaching of Islamic studies in the UK.

Hefce found that most undergraduate students were female, while the majority of postgraduate students were male.

Most of the male postgraduates had not studied the subject before and most of them had not previously studied in UK higher education.

Of the 173 male postgraduate students, 36% had undertaken previous study on non-Islamic studies programmes at an earlier date prior to commencing their study; 21% were either overseas students or their highest qualification was from outside the UK.

The University of Exeter's Arabic and Islamic studies course had the most postgraduate students (53), while the University of Birmingham had the most Islamic studies undergraduates (62).

Just under half (43%) of students studying Islamic studies programmes were Asian or Asian British, compared with 8% of students across all subjects of study and 5% for subjects related to Islamic studies, in the academic year 2005/6.

Those on Islamic studies programmes were less satisfied with their courses than students taking historical and philosophical studies, but Hefce said this was from a very small response to the National Student Survey.

The Midlands has a quarter of the total number of students - 158 - while the London region has 16%. Scotland and Wales have the largest proportion of Islamic studies postgraduate students: 82 students, or 29% of the UK's total postgraduate provision.

The publication of the figures comes as the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) announced it was funding a two-year research project into the foundations of so-called "radical" Islam.

The study, which has been awarded £224,000 from the ESRC, will focus on Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia to assess how the legacies of colonial repression, and the current political, social and economic climate affect perceptions of terrorism and the west.

Jonathan Githens-Mazer, a lecturer in politics at Exeter who is leading the report, said: "Myths, memories and symbols of past violence and contemporary repression are substantial sources of motivation for radicalisation.

"For those few north Africans who become attracted to radical and violent Islamism, blame for current predicaments is often attributed to European colonial powers, or what are perceived as western support for current injustices in the democratically challenged political regimes of north Africa."

Guardian
Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Şubat 2008, 14:09
YORUM EKLE