Newsletter 1 – 2020

Transformation, governance, management, leadership and student learning outcomes: Rethinking our strategy for Madina Institute South Africa.

Authors: KC Moloi, R Ariefdien, S. Martin, Z Fataar, S Jaffer & I Isaacs

As salaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

Readers,

This is our first 2020 Newsletter for Madina Institute South Africa. We hope to publish a series of newsletters henceforth generated by both academics and registered students.

To set the pace and direction for contributions, the focus of these newsletters will be on transformation, governance, management, leadership, student learning and khidma activities. These areas of foci will help direct the quality of contributions and the constructive mood in which they are written. Discussion and clarity about transformation, governance, leadership, student learning and khidma issues are key to the development of a rounded, spiritual Muslim graduate. The centre focus is on students, their learning experience, spiritual, intellectual, moral growth and holistic development.

Madina Institute South Africa functions within a changing socio-economic, political, cultural and educational context which impacts on our daily teaching and learning activities at the institution. For the 2020 academic year, we commenced with a big bang!! We had a Bootcamp and an orientation session for three weeks prior to the commencement of the academic year. The aim of the Bootcamp is to prepare newly registered students, both the one year Usul ul Din and the BA first year degree, with the mastery of Arabic before getting on to the formal classes. We believe that this intervention is significant because it serves as a scaffolding process that enables students to acquire confidence to learn Arabic as a language, and to use this knowledge to master learning in all other Modules within the one year Usul ul Din and the BA Islamic Studies degree.

What we have also done in 2020 was to revisit the Institutional Strategic Plan to enable alignment at all levels of the institution. Guiding our strategy review process were some of the following questions: What is our formula for success? How do we differentiate ourselves from our competitors in a highly volatile market for scarce resources? What are our key roles, responsibilities and duties? How do we make and take decisions to enable an empowering and invitational work, teaching and learning environment? What are our mechanisms for collaboration internally and with external organisations? How will students benefit from these collaborations? How is our teaching, learning and khidma behaviours shaped by the strategic objectives that arise from the institutional vision and mission statements? How do we monitor and assess our teaching, research and community outreach (khidma) activities? How do we continually learn and develop our talent to create a learning organisation?

We are aware that governance, management and leadership represent three separable but overlapping concepts (de la Rey, 2015:1). The question is:  What do these concepts and processes mean for Madina Institute, in our quest to become an effective teaching and learning; and research institution? In responding to the imperatives of the National Development Plan Vison 2030, how do our actions at Madina Institute, to respond better to the human resource, economic and development needs of the country, redress of past discrimination, representivity and equal access to education, human dignity, equality and freedom, respect for freedom of religion, belief and opinion? For the moment we do not tackle these pressing questions in this newsletter. We will Insha’Allah deal with each one of them separately in subsequent newsletters.

The underpinning values that guide our actions, our mutual interaction are: education, illumination and compassion. Added to these values we espouse, excellence, transparency, mutual respect, tolerance, compassion, honesty, love, authenticity, ethics, respect for speaking the truth. These state the central musts and must note that are significant for the long-term success of Madina? These values are entrenched in our decorum and they are honed into the Madina culture, solidified in our minds; and they are the vital principles that guide institutional and our day-to-day and long term decision making processes.

Reference

de la Rey, C. 2015. Governance and management in higher education.  Briefing paper prepared for the second national higher education transformation summit. Annexure 15. 2nd National Higher Education Summit, 15-15 November 2020.