Workshop on IEF Education in Turkey and Malaysia held at IKAM

Monday, July 17, 2017

Workshop on Islamic Economics and Finance Education in Turkey and Malaysia was held at Research Centre for Islamic Economics, IKAM,Istanbul on 17 July 2017. The workshop was jointly organised by IKAM and ICIFE and receieved rich participation from professors and experienced scholars both from Turkey and abroad, particularly senior faculty members from representative Malaysian universities.

President IKAM, Assoc. Prof Lutfi Sunar welcomed the participants as well as introduced the aims, objectives, goals and activities of IKAM. His was followed by another welcome speech by Prof. Dr. Necdet Şensoy, board member Central Bank of Turkey, who also briefly overviewed the Islamic Economics and Finance Programs and Curriculum in dfferent universities of Turkey. After him, Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Sarac from Istanbul University presented an overview of Islamic Economics Education in Turkey and particular programs of the field undertaken at his university. Discussing the lack of support in past years for this branch of Economics from government, the professor acknowledged recent moves of Turkish government towards supporting the discipline of Islamic Economics and Finance in Turkish universities that has lead to a surge in number of IEF programs offered accross the country. Skeptical about content of IEF textbooks in Turkey and pessimistic about availability of English scholars in the discipline he stressed the need of encouraging work towards improvement of the curriculum and the dire need of English based scholars for development of the discipline.

Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Hafsa Orhan briefed her recent research on curriculum of Islamic Economics and Finance Programs in Turkey. She mentioned that three universities; Istanbul, Sakarya and IZU offer IEF Education at postgraduate level in Turkish besides some Arabic programs offered at IZU only. IZU has also applied for accreditation of first IEF program in English. Realizing excessive content of conventional economics both towards masters and phd programs, IZU is already working on revision of its postgraduate curriculum of IEF. Taking an overview of the issues and challenges facing this discipline, she made certain valuable suggestions at the end of her talk and primarily stressed the need for further development of the field before opening newer courses in other languages.

Ismail Cebeci representing Marmara University briefed about the programs offered by Marmara University under faculty of Theology. The courses range from economy, religion, ethics, capitalism, industrial revolution, Islamic credit and finance to Islamic economic market and social responsibility. The course materials contain discussions on problems of Islamic Finance to comparisons between conventional and Islamic Banking. Course content at Marmara includes magazine articles, documentaries and talks offered by invited professionals from the field. Mentioning major problems he suggested smaller class size, more professional opportunities, increased partnerships with organizations and scholarship opportunities to develop the discipline in Turkey

Dr. Melahat Karadağ from Karatay University talked about the deep roots of the institution in the historic Karatay Madrasa which was formed in 1251. The Islamic Economics and Finance program was started last year. She mentioned how a deep credit crunch lately has exposed the problems associated with capitalism and hence world is looking towards alrenatives including interest free system. In this context the university has started IEF programs to increase the number of specialized persons in IEF, Participation banking and future scholars to make more practicable tools in IEF. Besides courseworks at university a studentship in practical field is a nesseary requisite of the degree to make students valuable professionals for future

There was also representation from Medipol University, Suleyman Demirel University and Bingol University from Turkey. Umit Hacioglu represented Istanbul Medipol University talked about their publications as well as journals. Dr. Musa from Suleyman Demirel University updated the participants that their university has applied for opening of undergraduate and graduate programs in IEF as well as Insurance.

The workshop also had rich participation from Malaysia. The participating faculty was introduced by Prof. Aslam Haneef who also acknowledged the efforts of organizing committee as well as IKAM and ICIFE for holding the much needed event.

Prof. Dr. Rosylin Mohd Yousuf from UUM analyzed the supply and demand of IEF programs in Malaysia making special mention to the participating universities and programs offered. She also told the participants of Islamic Finance being most and Islamic accounting being the least popular fields among IEF discipline in Malaysia. She stressed the need to fill the negative gap between IEF graduates and Market demand for them.

Dr. Maliah Bt and Prof Aslam Haneef additionally explained the structure of departments as we as content of different programs. He told ICIFE is not a project of IIUM alone but is being supported by Malaysian government too. The basic agenda behind this project was the islamization of knowledge. He also stressed the need of more content in alignment with the name e.g. Islamic Banking degree should contain a major component of Islamic Banking. He discussed the domains and courses as well as the overfinancialization of the field making mention of problems associated with financialization

Dr. Dzuljastri Abdul Razak from ICIFE briefed about ICIFE, its aims, objectives, goals and activities followed by Dr. Kamola Bayram who captivated the audience by introducing a muamalat game which inititates from sadaqat and is currently being used in several universities of Malaysia. The game is of 31 days and lasts only 2 hours each session. It educates the learner of managing money even when money is limited and is being marketed in Malaysia.

Following Lunch, an open discussion on contemporary issues of the field was held. Towards the end, MoU was signed between IKAM and ICIFE to ensure better participation between two organizations in their future endeavours.