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Jamia Training Institute- reviving the ummah's lost glory.

While it is an undeniable fact that Muslims were the forerunners of formal education in the country, this rich heritage which spanned several centuries has, sadly, for the most part been relegated to history books. Thanks to colonialism and the active connivance of Christian missionaries, impediments were put forward to deny Muslims access to education.
During this era, only a handful of institutions arose which catered for the community notable among them was the Mombasa Institute of Muslim Education (MIOME) which provided technical training skills to the community. Muslims lost MIOME in the 1960’s when it was taken over by the government and renamed the Mombasa Polytechnic.

With access to the so-called secular education limited, Muslims took to setting up religious based institutions while a few efforts were put forward on those specialising on the so-called secular disciplines. This, notwithstanding the emphasis which Islam places on knowledge, religious and secular.

It is against this background that the Jamia Training Institute (JTI) came into being to help in reviving this lost legacy. One of the cardinal aims of the institution was to impart technical skills to youths turning them into productive members of the society. An Islamic friendly environment was among other additions which the college provided.

Born from the WAMY Vocational College (WAVCO), JTI came under the auspices of the Jamia masjid Committee after the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) offered the mantle for Jamia to take over the institution.

With 49 students inherited from WAVCO, JTI rolled its operations in June 2005under the stewardship of the principal Sister Fatma Khamis Ali. It has since emerged to be one of the major success stories of Jamia Masjid Committee boasting well over 200 students.

Though located in a mosque environment, the college doors are not only limited to Muslims but have also attracted students from other faiths who have found its educational standards viable.

Struck by its impressive performance, Mr Irshad Ibrahim, the WAMY director speaking during the first graduation ceremony on Sunday, proposed that it was time for a long time vision to be initiated to transform the college into a university. “This could start with purchasing land where the proposed university will be established,” he said adding that would be economical as the price of land in Nairobi and its environs was skyrocketing.

On Sunday, Jamia Training Institute marked a milestone when it held its first graduation ceremony. Fifty students graduated after completing their studies in various disciplines. A further 150 students were awarded certificates after completing short courses offered at the institute.

The college is run by a management team of committed professionals who include the, Dr Noor Ali, the chairman and Prof Muhammad Abdulaziz, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi and Abdulatif Essajee, also lecturing at the same university and a directors of Vision Institute of Professionals (VIP). Others are Mr Abdul Bary Hamid, the Jamia masjid secretary general, Muhammad Sharrif, a Nairobi businessman and Sister Fatma Khamis, the principle.

Jamia Training Institute offers training in Information Technology, cloth making, Islamic and Arabic Studies and Sign Language. It is the only Muslim institution in the country offering a sign language programmes to ease communication with the deaf members of community. The course is carried out with an Islamic perspective. Through JTI, another first for Jamia masjid was achieved with the Friday sermons being translated to the deaf at a special section in the masjid.

A unique undertaking is also planned where by those who will complete the two year tailoring course will be handed over sewing machines as a road map to economic empowerment.

Jamia Training Institute has received accreditation by local examination bodies which include the Institute for Management of Information Systems (IMIS), Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and the Computer Society of Kenya (CSK).



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