Every parent agrees it’s imperative for their child to have a vision in life. Something great to aspire to. For the Muslim youth, an Islamic perspective is crucial in underpinning all aspects of their education, which forms the fundamental ethos behind tuition and development centre Aspiring Minds. If, like I, you happen to be a student on a quest to unite contrasting realms of scholarship; look no further. This unique non-profit venture has built a professional syllabus alongside industry experts in combining a rigorous spiritual, academic and career orientated programme for teens who’d otherwise not get the same attention or breadth of curriculum which so many schools fail to offer.
The talented, eclectic team of young Muslims sought to solve our burning conundrum by “bridging this gap”, proving pursuit of both entities is important and in fact linked. The core team of 11 run weekend classes over two academic terms for years 9-11 with the aim to provide affordable learning in order to increase accessibility for a large number of students.
In partnership with the reputable London Muslim Centre, Aspiring Minds have therefore cut the alternative cost of private tuition, Islamic classes and careers and life advice which gives the institution it's all encompassing unique identity.
“Unfortunately, what we have today in the Muslim community is that you either study religion or contemporary academia”
Intertwining the two disciplines is a unique idea which came about after a worrying conversation between one of the founders and his physics tutee. “What he said to me, shocked me” he explained, after his student detailed how his “Muslim friends in particular weren’t doing well in their GCSE’s”.
This may have been due to the focus of their curriculum on religion, as opposed to an integrated combination of the two. “Unfortunately, what we have today in the Muslim community is that you either study religion or contemporary academia” he continues, having coined the concept amidst his own medical education at King’s College London. As a student himself, his team are therefore in the unique position of understanding not only the educational excellence required to excel through higher education, but the necessity of inspiration through spiritual development and the Islamic benefits of pursuing academia in the first place.
“We have devised a structured and effective spiritual development programme, not offered by any other institution.”
Coinciding with the UK national curriculum, this rigorous syllabus supplements core topics within Maths, English and Science where pupils may need additional support. The 30 week course also includes two integrated revision sessions, giving students vital opportunity to recap problem areas at the end of each term.
Classes are organised by age, ranging from pre-GCSE starter classes for year 9 pupils, all the way up to the higher level theories, literary techniques and chemical complexities, essential in boosting their understanding of concepts often not covered in detail at school due to large class sizes.
02/Professional Spiritual Development Programme
Having produced the course themselves, the team boast an array of sub-curriculums which wholly harness what it means to be a sincere, wise and humble young Muslim today. By focusing on practical aspects of Islam; Aspiring Minds have elevated our fundamental beliefs by explaining the importance of applying ones values in our wider communities and truly resonating an understanding of Islam well beyond the classroom. The course incorporates:
- ‘The Hereafter Series’ – students are taught the journey of both good and bad souls through this life, the grave, the Day of Judgement and more
- Basic Islamic Principles – a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of Islam; what Allah (SWT) has commanded us to believe in
- Some of the Names and Attributes of Allah (SWT)
- Qur’an – appreciating the miracle of Islam, why Muslims know it is the word of God and the importance of implementing a sincere relationship with It through one’s daily life
- Muslims in Society - how to conduct oneself amongst family, friends, neighbours, non-Muslims and others; general Islamic etiquette and manners implemented through “action and etiquette of the week”
03/ Careers and Life Advice
The final element, arguably the most tailor made programme, equips the believer with not only the correct attitude with which to approach their current work, but an understanding of the opportunities which lie ahead. This re-emphasises the vital inspiration required to ensure pupils make the most of their capabilities. A series of workshops and lectures by professionals as well as current university students ensure pupils have the chance to hear about potential career paths and attempt tasks involved, as detailed below:
What’s more, pupils who already have a career strategy in mind are instantly paired up with a student studying within the same discipline, allowing a two way communication between both parties to establish the next generation of young professionals, inshaAllah.
2016 and Beyond
So far, Aspiring Minds have impressed us with their workshops in British Sign Language and Basic Life support in which students were taught valuable life skills, undoubtedly building their character and potential usefulness to society.
What’s more, unique sessions on personal development including a talk on time management by the founder of Satif’s, has set the bar high for the future of the centre. The team hope to continue aspiring Muslim minds across the UK through expanding their staff network and connecting with several Muslim organisations. This dream can only be facilitated through continued enthusiasm and donations towards the centre. If you would like to donate you can do so HERE
Aspiring Minds have undeniably captured the essence of a well-rounded young Muslim through their incredibly accessible scheme which presents windows of opportunity for both students and teachers alike. We look forward to meeting these sophisticated young leaders of tomorrow, but for now you can keep up to date with the team on their Facebook , Twitter and Website
Special thanks to the team at Aspiring Minds for taking the time to answer our questions.
Author: Sara Zubair
You Might Have Missed..