Al-Faruq of Education is one of the new colleges of education which was absorbed by the government in October 2015 and has the mandate to train professional teachers to teach in basic schools in the country.
Even though it is an Islamic institution, the college admits every Ghanaian student who is qualified by the current national admission requirement irrespective of his or her socio-cultural background or religious affiliation. Christians are allowed freedom of worship. They are made to join their mother churches in town to worship on Saturdays and Sundays.
The college, located at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana, currently has a total of 422 Level 100 and 200 male and female students drawn from across the 10 regions of the country.
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Currently, the college runs the general option of the Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) programme. Islamic and Arabic Language studies are the college’s main courses.
While Islamic Studies is taught as a core course for all students of the college, Arabic Language Studies is an elective area of concentration for those who want to specialise in that language.
According to the Principal of the College, Mr Wahab Sualihu, the college is seeking to obtain accreditation from the National Accreditation Board (NAB) and affiliate institutions to roll out a complete Diploma in Arabic/Islamic Studies programme.
“When this is successful, it will make the college the first in the history of Ghana to formally train teachers in Arabic education,” he said, adding that “this will help many Arabic instructors, most of whom do not have professional training.”
Apart from training Arabic teachers to make them more effective, it will also reduce the government’s huge expenditure on Arabic teachers by way of salaries and other forms of remuneration since the trained teachers will be able to teach all other courses.
The school is currently operating from existing structures which are being used for lectures and administration.
Because they are not enough, the college has turned part of the college’s mosque (Masjid) into a lecture hall which also doubles as a dining hall.
When the Daily Graphic visited the school, the Level 100 students were using the hall for their lectures but when it was time for breakfast, the room was quickly re-arranged for the entire students to have their meals.
There is also the need for the construction of a modern kitchen as the one being used currently is nothing to write home about.
Even though all the female students are staying in the dormitory on campus, a section of the male students are currently being accommodated in a hostel near the campus released by a philanthropist for temporary use to ease the accommodation challenge.
When the college was absorbed as a public college of education, the government presented a Navara pick-up vehicle for administrative use while the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) allocated funds for the renovation of some of the existing facilities during the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic years.
In addition, seven projects were awarded for construction to provide the college with the necessary infrastructure to befit its new status.
They included a two-storey ultra-modern administrative block, a four-storey lecture theatre and a laboratory, a four-storey hostel facility, a multi-purpose building with a 2,000-capacity auditorium, a demonstration basic school, a bungalow for the principal and external works comprise the construction of an entrance, roads, lanes, lawns and a football field for sports.
“I am sad to say that only four out of the seven contractors of these projects have shown visible intentions by initial drawings, clearing of sites and fencing,” Mr Wahab Sualihu implored some visitors who were at the college to make some donations to support the college.
In fact, the principal’s bungalow project, which had reached the roofing stage, has been abandoned in the bush while the other projects have not seen any progress after the initial clearing and fencing of sites to date.
“The situation has put the college in a very difficult situation. Our existing facilities, made up of two blocks, a dormitory and a mosque, have been overstretched. We are currently compelled to partition this mosque into a dining/lecture hall to accommodate the growing number of students,” Mr Sualihu stated.
He, therefore, appealed to the government to “search for the contractors” and motivate them with the necessary financial mobilisation to enable them to return to site.
The principal also appealed to the government to give the college the clearance to recruit new academic and non-academic staff, as well as provide it with a bus for the transportation of the students for their off-campus activities.
The challenges facing the college include the lack of a fence to protect the 20-acre land housing it, the lack of language laboratory to improve the teaching of languages; English, Arabic and Asante Twi, lack of literature books, a science laboratory/equipment and the lack of a teaching resource centre.
“Since the government alone cannot do everything for the college, I am appealing to individuals, non-governmental organisations and the international community to come to our aid in this direction,” Mr Sualihu stated.
Two projects, constructed and donated to the college, were inaugurated recently. They are a one-room project by the Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services (ICODEHS) and a four-unit urinal constructed by a spare parts dealer at Wenchi, Mr Owusu Augustine.
Representatives from the Mpuasuman Islamic Foundation (MIF) were also at the college to donate thousands of Islamic literature books on various subjects, including the Holy Qur’an, to stock the college’s library.
Mr Sualihu thanked Sheikh Ishaq Ibrahim Nuamah who delivered a powerful lecture at the gathering on the theme: “Self-discipline, a hallmark for success in life.”
He also thanked the Wenchi Traditional Council for donating a 20-acre land free of charge to the Muslim Community to establish the college.