The Madrassa System and the Islamic-Integrated Schools: Competing Spaces for Learning and the Ambivalent Relations with Secular Education in Kenya



Islam, madrasa, Islamic-integrated school, education, learning, Kenya


Islamic traditions place prominence on the production of knowledge, its attainment, and the transmission of such knowledge to the community. In Kenya, Islamic education is widely spread among various sections of the Muslim community. Many Muslim children are sent to the basic Qur’an schools (simple shelters in private houses) and madrasas (large institutions) to receive religious instruction. Despite this trend, there is a feeling among Kenyan Muslims that they are educationally disadvantaged in relation to secular education. These sentiments have increased the urgency for secular education for economic competitiveness, but without disregarding the value of religious education culminating in the establishment of Islamic-integrated schools. This shows a significant transformation of Islamic education in Kenya, revealing the abundance of Islamic traditions of learning across the country. Therefore, this article seeks to explore two educational institutions responsible for the mediation of Islamic religious education in Kenya—the madrasa system and the Islamic-integrated schools. In both institutions, the learners are educated on Islam's basic precepts and practices, memorise and recite the Qur’an, and are taught how to read and write the Arabic script. Though the two institutions could be described as Islamic learning spaces, the article will examine their seeming competition against each other and their ambivalent attitude toward secular education in Kenya. Some of the questions the article raises include: (a) How has the issue of standardisation of the religious education syllabus been addressed in both institutions? (b) To what extent have Islamic-integrated schools been successful in the production of religious authority?


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How to Cite

Ndzovu, Hassan. 2023. “The Madrassa System and the Islamic-Integrated Schools: Competing Spaces for Learning and the Ambivalent Relations With Secular Education in Kenya”. Journal for Islamic Studies 41 (1):19 pages.



Received 2023-10-23
Accepted 2023-12-06
Published 2023-12-31