An empirical study of the perceptions of male teachers and students of the Islamic education curriculum in secondary schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Islamic education curriculum (IEC) is very important for Saudi society. Weaknesses of IEC have undermined its influence on Saudi students in Secondary schools, and many institutes and individuals have called for its renewal. This study investigates the extent of the influence of Islamic education curriculum on secondary school students and examines the background to the problems, the current situation and the possibilities of solving them. The study is in two main parts. The first part is a theoretical study of the main characteristics and factors affecting Islamic education and its teaching methods. Literature general curriculum and IEC in particular are reviewed examine the effectiveness of the IEC especially since 2001, to determine the nature of the problems to be investigated. This part of this study provides the foundation for the second part. The second part is an empirical study of views on the current curriculum. A questionnaire was constructed based on the literature with some development and updating in the pilot study, and was distributed to teachers and students in four cities: Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah and Buraydah. Valid responses were received from 248 teachers, and 348 students. Interviews were conducted with 20 teachers and 20 students, to obtain explanations and support for the questionnaire finding. The responses revealed weak influence of the IEC on students' behaviours which undermined motivation to study IE. Respondents thought the IEC does not meet students' needs, contains unsuitable topics for students' age. These problems came from a lack of fulfilment of curricular aims and objectives by the IEC and teachers. Most teachers used traditional methods such as the lecture during teaching, and there was a lack of use of modern teaching aids due to lack of availability. There were few school activities, and only written exams were used to assess students. Problems were attributed to shortage of time, unsuitable buildings, lack of teacher training, and lack of teacher participation in developing the curriculum. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations have been drawn up for developing the IEC, in order to help the decision-makers in Saudi Arabia.