Islam students coming to Windesheim

Inholland cancels study programmes Teacher Education

  • The university of applied sciences drew in roughly thirty students annually for the study programme of ‘teacher education in Islam religion’
  • Peter de Haan: ‘We need to be able to offer them something’.

The university of applied sciences Inholland decided last week that, with the start of the upcoming school year, they would cancel sixteen teacher education degree programmes. The current students are allowed to finish their programmes while new applicants are steered towards the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, but when it comes to the teacher education Islam religion, the applicants are sent to Windesheim. This decision may offer possibilities for a project which will last for years: the formation of a Dutch Imam training programme.

Peter de Haan, director of the study programme Teacher Education in Religion: ‘There was an Imam study programme offered at university of applied sciences Inholland, but it was cancelled in 2013. The main problem was finding internship positions with a professional perspective in mosques belonging to the five large mosque groups in the Netherlands. People turned out to prefer Imams with a more serious theological education who have spent time abroad during their education.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science kept asking for propositions. There was no result. De Haan: ‘Windesheim has always stood on the premise that, should Inholland take the first step, we would like to help where possible. There had been talks up until last September, but these did not pan out.

The decision made by Inholland changes the matter, however. Teacher education in Islam religion drew in roughly thirty students yearly. Many of them were mostly curious and not necessarily interested in being a teacher, but, according to De Haan, ‘perhaps we can offer these students something’. At Windesheim there has always been a lot of value placed upon the cooperation between the teacher education programme and the programme Theology. Can those students expect a comparable level here? An Imam training programme in Zwolle, perhaps? De Haan: ‘Mosque administrators can see the necessity for a Dutch programme. They are also worried about their Muslim youth who do not have a place to go with their questions regarding their faith and, as a result, delve into the internet for answers. But the division is great, which makes this a difficult case. We need to learn from our experiences. A degree programme needs to have a good support in the Islamic community. That is an absolute necessity’. (MH)

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