The parents of children attending the Islamic School of Canberra, in the suburb of Weston, were invited to an information session on Friday 13 October to meet the new board and hear the future plans for the school, which for the last year or so had been under immense financial and federal government pressure to close its doors.
Earlier this year the Department of Education and Training (DET) had announced the cessation of funding on 30 June based on governance and financial viability issues. This was later extended to 15 December.
In the meantime, the Islamic Practice and Dawah Circle (IPDC), an Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation, submitted a proposal to AFIC, the leaseholder of the land, and the school board to take over the administration of the school and the holder of the lease of the land. This process has been approved by AFIC, the School Board and IPDC and is now undergoing approval and transfer processes in the ACT government.
The proceedings commenced with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an by one of the kindergarten students of the school, Nouman Ansari.
The information session, hosted in conjunction with the Parents & Friends Association (PFA-ISC) of the school, was to give the parents and other well wishers an insight as to the vision the new board has for the school. The session was MC’ed by PFA member, Manar Ahmad.
However, as stressed several times by Rafiqul Islam, Chair of the new board, the school should be seen as being owned by the Canberra community and a concerted effort was planned to encourage community participation.
“The school offers the solution to the many problems that our children can face. Our vision for the school is to have a trusted community partnership. This is your school, its a community school,” he pointed out.
Dr Rafiqul Islam presented the vision and plan for the next few years with a view to upgrade the infrastructure and playground in parallel with investment in the running of the school and teaching resources.
Visiting guest, Imam Aarij Anwar, from Toronto, Canada stressed how fortunate and blessed we are by Allah (swt) that we live in a country where the government supports and funds our schools and made dua that the school reaches its potential.
Kalam Azad, President of the PFA-ISC, thanked the previous board and the current Principal, David Johns, for their tireless work in keeping the school afloat through a very difficult time.
Azra Khan, the former Chair of the Board, thanked the previous board members, and Suhail Khan and David Johns (ongoing Principal of the school) in particular, for their hard work over the last year.
The event concluded with a dua from one of the most active members of the PFA, Br Amadu Barrie.
A week after the event, there were reports again that the DET was proceeding with the cessation of funding in December with the same concerns. The school however is confident that when the new arrangements are fully considered those concerns will be mitigated and funding will resume.
The school is hosting a community-wide Open Day on 4 November which will include a BBQ and opportunity for the public and parents of current and potential ISC students to have a guided walk around the school.