The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), fosters vital conversations on education policy and values-based public policy, acknowledging that education policy is part of larger systems of governance and policymaking. IIIT encourages discussions with education reform experts and stakeholders, including policy advisors, governmental officials, academics, teachers, and parents through multiple platforms including its award-winning podcast, Third Space Thoughts to Policy, and blog, Thoughts in the Third Space.

IIIT builds partnerships domestically and abroad to examine the current state of policies in the Muslim world that impact education and offers pragmatic recommendations to decision makers on ways to implement reforms. In order to accomplish its mission, the institute relies on data-driven research prepared by academics and policy experts in coordination with contacts on the ground in IIIT’s various offices around the globe. The Institute disseminates its findings through various publications including books, reports, and policy briefs.

Education policy involves decision-making processes at the highest levels of educational systems as well as those on the more local level. Systems that are more centralized rely on leadership from ministries of education or higher education which set the standards and guiding principles directly impacting teacher qualifications and accreditation, administrative leadership at schools, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and evaluation, as well as other areas. Reform at the higher level can contribute to a “trickledown” effect into other areas and levels of education. With that being said, not all systems are centralized, and policy reform can also have an impact at the local level in these decentralized contexts when targeting regulations and guidelines pertaining to a specific state, district, or school.

Context and Geopolitics

When analyzing education policy or suggesting reforms, it is essential to understand local contexts and geopolitical realities that directly impact the likelihood of successful reform implementation. Governance in Muslim-majority states, which includes rule of law, role of religion in the political sphere, civil-military relations, and political economy, plays a large role in effectiveness of most policy areas, including education. Furthermore, conflicts between states and within countries have in many circumstances resulted in displacement and migration which create challenges in the education, among other areas. Violent non-state actors in fragile environments also pose a threat to all societies, and education can be used as a tool to counter this global issue.

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Mapping the Terrain Study 2019-2020 Implications

AEMS Mapping the Terrain Research has released its first brief on policy and research implications which you can read now. This insightful brief prepared by Amina Derbi, Executive Analyst and Graphic Designer, and Dr. Ilham Nasser, Director of Mapping the Terrain Research, provides recommendations on utilizing the findings of the large scale and multisite Mapping the Terrain 2018-2019 study in education policy, curriculum, and pedagogy in the fourteen Muslim-majority societies where there was participation and beyond.