Integrated Islamic Education in Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia: Reforms and Challenges

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Srawut Aree
Shekh Mohammad Altafur Rahman


The Muslim world is in the midst of a dilemma due to the dualism in education systems. In response several scholarly initiatives have emerged to ensure the necessary balance between the secular and religious curricula through integration. Integrated Islamic education has been implemented in southern Thailand and several states of northern Malaysia to address varied requirements of these states. This research attempts to compare the reforms and challenges faced by these two neighboring countries in implementing an integrated Islamic curriculum mainly in medium level schools. Both documentary research and semi-structured interview methods have been used to collect data. The research has identified the underlining differences in the contexts, implementation, and extent of the integrated Islamic curriculum in the two countries. It has revealed the qualitative aspects of the integration, which aim to forge a link between developing a responsive citizen and a better religious person. It has identified that Malaysia has significantly developed the policy and curricula but has come up short in developing skills for implementing such integrated Islamic education. On the other hand, curricula and skills remain a challenge for integrated Islamic education in southern Thailand. The researchers argue that the challenges of longer school hours, lack of wider student involvement, and poorer integration can be addressed through extending cooperation among various stakeholders. It is recommended that the cooperation shall not remain limited within national borders but, rather, it should explore the huge potential of cross-border cooperation.

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How to Cite
Aree, S., & Altafur Rahman, S. M. (2016). Integrated Islamic Education in Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia: Reforms and Challenges. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 2(2), 75–106. Retrieved from
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