Prayers five times a day

30th April 2004 at 01:00
* Inspectors paint a picture of a sheltered, studious retreat for young Muslim girls who are required to pray five times a day. A key aim is to train them to be Muslim scholars.

But the girls are cut off from daily life in Dundee. There are no newspapers or television and very little recreation for boarders. "A member of staff took all pupils for rounders or volleyball in the garden once a week, weather permitting," HMI states.

Mornings are spent on Islamic studies and afternoons on a secular curriculum. But teaching simply required the girls to reproduce what the teacher said. Its quality varied from fair to unsatisfactory, inspectors say.

Pupils were "not encouraged to think for themselves or learn about the wider world".

The report concludes: "The school was not fulfilling its aim of educating pupils in line with the standards of the Scottish education system. Pupils had little chance of developing the abilities necessary to function as effective citizens in a multicultural society."

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