Inculcating the passion for education is the panacea for civilizational bankruptcy

By Nur Hakimah Sakeenah

Mahallah Sumayyah is a college that is named after the first female martyr, Sayyidah Sumayyah. This well-established college has always been known for its devotion in empowering all layers of the community in all aspects – a hybrid concept that integrates both community engagement and intellectualism with the intention to build a civilized society and to prevent civilizational bankruptcy, a term coined by Malek Bennabi (1905 – 1973) to describe the lack of emergence of Islamic thoughts.

In this context, we should be more inclined to rely on the term ‘civilizational bankruptcy’, in a wide manner.

In other words, we need to interpret ‘civilizational bankruptcy’ as a lack of interest in education which ultimately leads to the lack of ideas for society’s development. However, different interpretations from readers are always welcomed.

To achieve this mission, Mahallah Sumayyah had collaborated with two NGOs namely Mulhaq and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-Anak Basri. Besides, it is material to note that the President of Mahallah Sumayyah itself, Fatihah Syahail, had pitched this idea and everything went smoothly when this program was supported by the Baling District Education Office.

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Jerai, Baling, was chosen to be the helipad of our program where we can land our ‘boxes’ of experiences, knowledge and motivation as a final booster to the fifth former students from 8 different schools that were facilitated by young facilitators from Mulhaq and Mahallah Sumayyah with diverse backgrounds namely law, economics, sociology, engineering and accounting.

One of the imperative points that was highlighted during the program was the importance of education. To illustrate this, the organizers had taken this golden chance to organize debate sessions among students, inter alia.

The topic chosen was the critical discussion of whether TikTok should be seen as an income generator, outranking tertiary education that is known for its power to open the room for professionalism.

This topic is a real issue that has been circulating on social media where some youths deem education as less important because they are influenced by the success of TikTok icons rather than inspired by renowned sociologists, lawyers, doctors and engineers.

Nevertheless, TikTok indubitably has its own perks but that does not mean the importance of education can be outweighed by it.

This issue and mindset are not a lingering rhetorical fear, and no one is fearmongering here because statistics has solidified this concern when last year, more than 70% of SPM leavers did not further their studies.

Hence, organizers felt the need and urge to encourage students to rethink on this matter and be critical about it. However, the intention of the organizers was not to force everyone to enroll to university as education is universal and can be experienced anywhere.

Rather, the goal is to produce an educated society where ‘civilizational bankruptcy’ could be kept at bay, as emphasized by Dr Shamshina, the Principal of Mahallah Sumayyah, and a Criminal Law lecturer with the Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws (AIKOL), IIUM.

As a community, it is significant to take off the blindfold that blocks youngsters from seeing the sunshine of education. It is crucial for us to stand together and do everything in our capacity to invigorate youngsters to have passion in education as they are the future leaders that will make policy and govern our lives when we turn 60.

If the spark of passion for education is put at stake, who is going to come up with sustainable plans for climate change, social justice, and combating inflation in the next 10 or 20 years? Thus, at this ripe age of 18, young people have to think that education matters and that this nation needs them. They have to. They really have to.***

(Nur Hakimah Sakeenah is the Vice President of Mahallah Sumayyah Representative Committees and is a student from Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws, IIUM.)

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