Indonesian school helps students recite the Quran in sign language

Concerned about how hearing-impaired Indonesian students often lack religious education, cleric Abdul Kahfi founded an Islamic boarding school to help them study and recite scriptures from the Quran using sign language.

Opened in 2019 in the city of Yogyakarta in Central Java, the Darul A’shom School now has 12 staff and teaches 115 students aged between seven and 28 from the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.

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Abdul hopes the school will make it easier for future generations to learn about Islam.

“Adults with hearing loss these days hardly know religion in depth because since school age they have never learned it,” the cleric said, noting how interest in his school had grown. spread quickly.

In Indonesia, the public school curriculum provides religious education limited to children with special needs, starting at age eight or nine rather than in kindergarten as is the case for many other students.

Students attend a class at a boarding school for hearing-impaired children, where they learn the Holy Scriptures of the Quran and recite in sign language, in Yogyakarta. (REUTERS/Budi Satriwan)

Only three out of 10 children with disabilities in Indonesia can go to school, according to a survey by the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF).

Deaf students usually take about five years to learn how to recite and memorize the Quran in school.

“Now I am able to read and memorize 30 juz (parts) of the Quran,” said 10-year-old student Muhammad Farhad, who said he wanted to become a cleric one day so he could pass on his knowledge to others. . .

Indonesia has tens of thousands of Islamic boarding schools and other religious schools that are often the only way for children from the poorest families to get an education.

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