Funding round key for Muslim school

Mohammad Alayan
Mohammad Alayan
October is decision month for the Al-Noor Charitable Trust.

The organisation hopes to be selected as a Ministry of Education partnership school in the next round of funding grants, which would help establish the An-Nur Kiwi Academy (AKA) in South Dunedin.

The $8million secondary boarding school for Muslim boys will be based at the former St Patrick's Primary School in Melbourne St, and is expected to educate about 100 year 11-13 boys from across the country.

Trust chairman Dr Mohammad Alayan said the facility was supposed to open last year, but the project was not selected in the ministry's first round of partnership schools funding.

It was among 35 applicants. Only five were selected.

''The process was highly competitive and our application was not selected. Based on this, we modified our plan to start AKA in 2017.''

He said the trust was working on a revised partnership school application and now it was hoped the academy would be running in February 2017.

If the application was successful, the funding would pay for the operating costs of the programme.

A delegation from Kuwait visited the Dunedin site in May this year and was impressed by the project, he said.

The delegation indicated it could pay to build a mosque, hostel and sports facilities on the site, but a requirement of its support was funding for operating costs for the project.

Dr Alayan said resource consent had been granted to run the site as an education facility.

Two classrooms on the premises were already being used as an early childhood education service for the Dunedin Muslim community.

It has about 30 children.

He said the trust was establishing a purpose built centre on the Dunedin site for the early childhood education programme, and it was scheduled to relocate to the new building in early 2016.

Dr Alayan said the trust wanted to establish AKA in Dunedin because it believed Muslim children attending state secular schools were subjected to an educational environment that pressured them to adopt values that contradicted Islamic values, such as the evolution theory, sexual relations outside marriage and drinking alcohol.

The academy aimed to provide high quality education with an emphasis on Islamic values, he said.

The New Zealand national curriculum would be taught by about 15 to 20 staff, including qualified Islamic studies and Arabic language teachers.