By Arfang Ms Camara
The Islamic Online University (IOU) on Tuesday graduated over 174 students on Intensive English Course (IEC) at a ceremony held at the Supreme Islamic conference hall, Kanifing.
School principals, parents, and students amongst others attended the ceremony.
Dr. Phillips Bilal established the Islamic Online University (IOU) in 2007 and in April 2007 the IOU reopened its doors with the popular Da’wah Training Course after a five-year interlude to enhance the student’s learning experience and the Learning Management System (LMS) of the IOU.
In 2014, IOU has been granted operational license in The Gambia and introduced new departments, such as Department of Education, Department of Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance and Department of Psychology.
Speaking at the ceremony, the chancellor of the Online University, Dr. Philips Bilal said that the Islamic Online University was established in 2007 and it has over 180, 000 students worldwide from 225 countries.
He said that the philosophy of the university is to change the nation through education adding that its programmes have been made accessible to the people by reducing the cost and making up the income by the larger numbers.
According to him, the vision of the Islamic Online University (IOU) is to hold on the education sector and to also train teachers both in Islamic and English as they have been depending on foreign teachers to come and teach in The Gambia.
Chancellor Bilal then went to congratulate graduates for being the first batch to complete the Intensive English Course (IEC) in the Islamic Online University (IOU).
He thanked the Government of The Gambia for creating the enabling environment and all those who participated towards the development of their university.
The chancellor of the online University also thanked the staff of the IOU and the people who make the programme successful.
The representative from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Muhammed Alin Badjan expressed delight for having such a University for the student of The Gambia noting that this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be waste by The Gambian students.
He said his Ministry would like to continue collaborating with the Islamic Online University for the development of the students especially the Arabic students.
According to him, the University would help students not only in English but also to know the words of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad (S.A.W) and to also contribute their quota towards nation development.
Badjan congratulated the graduates for coming, while urging them to study other developmental areas so as to contribute to nation building.
Ousainou Allen, the IOU West African representative, said that this is the first graduating batch of the Islamic Online University’s Intensive English Course revealing that Dr. Bilal Philips initiated this course in The Gambia a year ago.
He thanked the Government of The Gambia for given them the platform to come up with an idea like this as it is going to help in national development. He also thanked their partners such as the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education for their support.
The whole idea of the Intensive English Course, he hinted, is to teach the students English and as well as the background of Arabic and the words of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W).
For his part, Pa Gora Faal, the chairperson of IOU, reiterated that the IOU was originally a product of Dr. Bilal’s teaching courses in Islamic Studies at the American University in Dubai.
According to him, the IOU now has a single virtual campus for all its accredited programmes hosted on its own dedicated server. The world, as they know it, has shrunk to be term as a global village in which English language has become one of the principal assets in the international communication; in fact, it is called the International Language.
He said thousands of Muslims around the world attend institutions that do not prepare them for the modern day world noting that students are taught in either the Arabic language or their native tongue, which leaves their graduates with minimum opportunities for furthering their education or joining the English language dominated workforce.
Realizing the disadvantage that the young madrasah are in, Chairperson Faal revealed that, Dr. Bilal has taken the initiative of providing them with a one year intensive English Language programme aimed at establishing a solid base, which the students may build upon to achieve higher goals.
Since its conception in July 2013, he disclosed, the Intensive English programme has attracted great interest not only among people with Madrasah backgrounds but also among professionals desiring to upgrade their language skills.