Muslim independent schools in South Africa are under enormous constraints to stay afloat in the current financial times. The struggling Iqra Academy in Belhar is a prime example of a Muslim school could close its doors as a consequence of insufficient funding. The school in the working-class suburb of Belhar is facing imminent closure unless sufficient funds are raised, urgently. Imaad Isaacs of the Imaad Isaacs Foundation told VOC that they are looking to raise R2.5 million over the next 10 weeks. The Imaad Isaacs Foundation is a non-profit company that recently took over the Iqra Academy.
“We need to remember that with independent schools, although they are partly subsidized by the Department of Education that partial subsidy is very small and when you take a school like Iqra Academy which charges a very minimal fee, its really not enough to run a high school. The school has always found itself in this challenge of not having sufficient finances…when you run a high school you need to have specialists and they come at huge costs,” said Isaacs.
The foundation’s aim is to ensure that the school remains open, ensuring that in 2020 students can re-register at the school and that classrooms are well equipped and ready for education. They are looking at introducing virtual education as well, bringing in facilitators and establishing a blended learning model at the school – which Isaacs says will help reduce costs while ensuring access to quality resources.
Blended learning essentially means learners will use a digital learning model supported by teachers and academic coaches.
The R2.5 million goal will give the school the boost it needs to meet its objectives and continue to educate the more than 140 learners at the academy.
“We really want the community to come out and support us. Ultimately, this is a boost to get the school going and our long term vision is the gradual implementation of the virtual high school as well as ensuring sustainable avenues of funding for the school…within two years inshaa’Allah we will have avenues that ensure the school is sustainably run with adequate resources and that funding will no longer be an issue as it is right now,” said Isaacs.
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