The journey of Australian Islamic schools can be captured in 3 overlapping phases: Establishment, Belonging, and Distinction. The 1980s and 1990s was the Establishment Phase when schools were consumed with articulating vision, ensuring competency, and gaining internal community trust. In the 2000s, the focus was on “Belonging” - being patient, resilient, and persevering through one of many spikes in outright Islamophobia. Belonging at that time emphasised dialogue, global and community service learning, and community collaboration.

Significant achievements have been made during the first two phases outlined above. Australian Islamic schools are an integral part of the social fabric in their respective communities, school accreditation and state accountability measures have been mastered by many and graduates are increasingly championing both academic excellence and social and civic responsibility. Islamic schools now enter what has been termed a “distinction” phase that demands pushing beyond mastery of conventional practice and toward rethinking purpose and renewal of practice in light of original aspirations. In this Distinction Phase, Islamic schools must recognise the unique opportunity to share innovative educational thought and practice that offers a positive contribution to the broader field of schooling in Australia (CITE Stimulus Paper 2024, 21).

For Further Readings:

A Shared Vision for Islamic Schooling in Australia: Learners, Learning and Leading Learning

Abdalla, Mohamad, Chown, Dylan & Abdullah, Muhammad 2018, Islamic schooling in the West: pathways to renewal, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Singapore.