Malek Fahd Islamic School

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Malek Fahd Islamic School
Malek Fahd Islamic School logo.png
Chullora Greenacre Mosque.JPG
Address
405 Waterloo Road

Greenacre, Sydney
,
New South Wales
,
2190

Australia
Coordinates33°53′29″S 151°03′39″E / 33.891442°S 151.060901°E / -33.891442; 151.060901Coordinates: 33°53′29″S 151°03′39″E / 33.891442°S 151.060901°E / -33.891442; 151.060901
Information
School typeIndependent co-educational
Motto"Knowledge is Light, Work is Worship"
Religious affiliation(s)Islamic
Established1989
Staff175
Teaching staff151
GradesK–12
Age5 to 18
Enrolment2440[1] (2013)
CampusesGreenacre (main, K–12),
Hoxton Park (K–4),
Beaumont Hills (K–7)
Colour(s)Green, yellow and white
AffiliationsAustralian Federation of Islamic Councils
Website

Malek Fahd Islamic School (MFIS), is an independent, Islamic, once-prestgious,[2] combined primary and secondary school, in Greenacre, New South Wales with smaller campuses in Hoxton Park and Beaumont Hills. It is the largest Islamic school in Australia,[3] catering for 2444 students from Kindergarten to Year 12 across three campuses.[1] All MFIS students (and 80% of the staff) are Muslim.[1]

History[edit]

Malek (King) Fahd Islamic School was opened in October 1989 with one campus in Greenacre. The purchase of the land for the school was secured through a $12 million gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.[4] The school started with 87 students from kindergarten to year 3 but has grown to over 2000 students in 2013.[5]

In 2007 the school made its debut when it came 9th in the state's HSC ranking.[6]

In April 2011 the school established two campuses in Hoxton Park and Beaumont Hills both catering for students in early primary school.

In June 2013 the School Board, chaired by Tom Alegounarias, appointed the school's first Christian headmaster, Dr Ray Barrett.[7]

By 2016 the school's state ranking for the HSC had dropped to 76th.[8]

Campuses[edit]

Greenacre campus

The school's main campus in Greenacre includes 1070 students in the primary school (Kindergarten to Year 6) and 990 students in the secondary school (Years 7 to 12).[1] Students in the main campus originate mainly from the local Bankstown area, Lakemba, Auburn and Guildford.[citation needed]

The Hoxton Park campus opened in April 2011 for 78 students in Kindergarten and Years 1 and 2 as well as 4 staff. [9] In 2013 the campus has 87 students enrolled from Kindergarten to Year 4.[10][1] The campus has a modern two-story building which caters for students from Hoxton Park, Liverpool, Lurnea, Hinchinbrook and Prestons.

The school also operates a campus in Beaumont Hills, opened in April 2011, for children in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2.[11][1] The campus initially started with 31 students[9] but has increased in size with over 200 students in 2012 from Kindergarten to Year 6.[1] In 2014 the school expanded to include Year 7.[1] The campus draws students from Beaumont Hills, Kellyville, Castle Hill, The Ponds, Blacktown, Seven Hills, Rooty Hill and Mt Druitt.

Curriculum[edit]

Malek Fahd Islamic School teaches according to the NSW Board of Studies mandated syllabuses. However all students are required to study the Religious Education syllabus throughout their schooling. The school also teaches Arabic throughout schooling.[5] Arabic is also offered as a subject for students completing the Higher School Certificate in Year 11 and 12.[5] In 2013 NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli expressed grave concern at the school's HSC curriculum.[12]

The school also offers a number of sporting and extra curricular activities including with other schools and local organisations.[5]

Controversies[edit]

Under the former principal, Dr. Intaj Ali, the school offered only a limited range of subjects. Options for students who excelled in arts and social science subjects instead of the natural sciences were either limited or non-existent. The emphasis on the sciences and discrimination against students who excelled in the arts rather than sciences at the school has only reinforced the Muslim community's concentrated input into fields such as engineering, medical science, accounting and lack of output into fields such as law and politics.[citation needed]

In 2008 Malek Fahd Islamic School was criticised for not allowing under performing students to sit the Higher School Certificate (HSC), resulting in unfairly high HSC results reported for the school. The school denied distorting exam results. After it came to light that poorer performing students from the school were compelled to enrol in TAFE so that their marks would not "drag down" the school's overall performance, Dr. Intaj Ali withdrew his students from TAFE and claimed that it had actually been part of the school's extra-curricular activities that the students enrolled at TAFE. But a former HSC co-ordinator at Bankstown TAFE registered that the parents of students were dismayed by having to pay fees to both the school and then more fees at TAFE. Dr. Intaj Ali also claimed that the school had increased the range of HSC subjects it offered.[13] Howevever, the subject offerings at the school remained limited and continued to disadvantage students who would excel in the social, rather than natural, sciences.[citation needed]

In spite of denials by the school the case of Afyouni in 2011 demonstrated that the school was still manipulating its ranking by outsourcing the poorer performing students to TAFE even after it had been exposed for the first time in 2008.[14]

In 2010 the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils received $5.2 million from Malek Fahd Islamic School which is approximately one third of the money received from the federal and state governments.[15] In 2012 the NSW government demanded the repayment of $9 million passed from Malek Fahd Islamic School to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.[16][17]

In November 2013 the school faced closure due to problems associated with its attendance-approvals, its HSC curriculum, educational quality, safe environment and its buildings.[3][16] In December 2013 the school won a reprieve,[7] with the NSW Board of Studies agreeing to a further year of registration.[18]

In November 2015 the school sought an injunction in the NSW Supreme Court to remove the governance of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.[19][20]

In March 2016, the school cut ties to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.[21]

In September 2016, initiated civil proceedings against the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils in the Supreme Court of New South Wales for damages as the result of a breach of fiduciary duty and for above-market rents.[22][23]

Federal funding[edit]

In February 2016, the Commonwealth Government revoked $19 million in federal funding to the school. The decision was made after an investigation found that the school had been operating for profit and that there were ongoing governance concerns.[24] It was reported that the "feud" between the school board and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils had escalated to the point where security was required at the school for "fear it could escalate into violence".[25][26] The federal government investigation revealed phantom loan, mystery payments and undeclared conflicts of interest were identified by a federal government investigation.[27] On 3 April 2016, following a request by the school, an internal review conducted by the Federal Department of Education upheld the initial decision to revoke funding.[28]

An appeal by the school to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was dismissed on 23 December 2016, with the tribunal upholding the Federal Government's decision to revoke funding. The school published a statement indicating that they would appeal to the Federal Court of Australia.[29][30][22]

An appeal of the Administrative Appeal Tribunal's decision to uphold the Federal Government's revocation of funding was dismissed by the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia on 20 March 2018.[31] A lawyer representing the school at the Federal Court criticised the financial interactions between the school and the Federation of Islamic Councils, saying there had been, "a toxic combination of directors common to the board of AFIC and the school".[32] The school's legal team indicated that they are considering appealing to the High Court of Australia. The school will continue to operate during the appeal process.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Malek Fahd Islamic School (2013). School Annual Report (PDF) (Report). Sydney: Malek Fahd Islamic School. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  2. ^ Branley, Alison. "Malek Fahd Islamic College takes parents to court over $490 in fees four years after expelling student". ABC News.
  3. ^ a b Barrett, Rebecca; Branley, Alison (1 November 2013). "NSW school inspectors recommend closure of Australia's largest Muslim school". ABC News. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  4. ^ Burke, Kelly (16 March 2004). "And the winner is: how private schools get paid". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Malek Fahd Secondary School". Malek Fahd Islamic School. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  6. ^ Patty, Anna. "Islamic school's debut in HSC top 10". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  7. ^ a b Tovey, Josephine (11 December 2013). "Malek Fahd Islamic School wins reprieve". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  8. ^ "2016 Annual School Report" (PDF). Malek Fahd Islamic School.
  9. ^ a b Malek Fahd Islamic School (2011). School Annual Report (PDF) (Report). Sydney: Malek Fahd Islamic School. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  10. ^ "Malek Fahd Hoxton Park Campus". Malek Fahd Islamic School. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  11. ^ "Malek Fahd Beaumont Hills Campus". Malek Fahd Islamic School. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  12. ^ Barrett, Rebecca. "NSW school inspectors recommend closure of Australia's largest Muslim school". ABC News.
  13. ^ "School denies distorting its exam results". Sydney Morning Herald. 6 December 2008. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  14. ^ Branley, Alison. "Malek Fahd Islamic College takes parents to court over $490 in fees four years after expelling student". ABC News.
  15. ^ "Malek Fahd Islamic School 'fees' funding Australian Federation of Islamic Councils". The Australian. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
  16. ^ a b Bodkin, Peter (12 December 2013). "Greenacre's Malek Fahd Islamic School facing new showdown over excessive student numbers". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  17. ^ Silma Ihram (12 August 2012). "AFIC, Islamic Schools and ethics". Muslim Village. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
  18. ^ Josephine Tovey (19 December 2013). "School's not out: Malek Fahd Islamic School survives as the HSC results arrive". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  19. ^ Shanahan, Leo (30 October 2015). "Largest Muslim school Malek Fahd locks out chairman". The Australian. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  20. ^ Hall, Louise (3 November 2015). "Malek Fahd Islamic School crisis deepens as legal action launched". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  21. ^ Booth, Meredith (10 March 2016). "Schools cut ties to Federation of Islamic Councils". The Australian. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  22. ^ a b Munro, Kelsey (5 January 2017). "Malek Fahd Islamic school future in doubt after tribunal decision to cut federal government funding". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  23. ^ Mitchell, Georgina (8 November 2017). "Malek Fahd Islamic School paid 'extortionate' rent to its founder, court hears". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  24. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (9 February 2016). "Commonwealth axes government funding to Islamic school Malek Fahd". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  25. ^ Benson, Simon (9 February 2016). "Malek Fahd Islamic school: Government axes all Commonwealth funding". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  26. ^ Shanahan, Leo (9 February 2016). "Islamic school Malek Fahd has $15m in funding taken away". The Australian. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  27. ^ Safi, Michael (24 February 2016). "Malek Fahd school accused of unexplained payments to Islamic body and staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  28. ^ Department of Education (20 March 2018). "Federal Court upholds decision to revoke funding from Malek Fahd Islamic School" (Press release). Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  29. ^ Kimmorley, Sarah (6 January 2017). "Australia's largest Islamic school may be forced to close after losing $19 million in government funding". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  30. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (4 April 2016). "Malek Fahd loses appeal to have funding returned". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  31. ^ "Future uncertain for Australia's largest Islamic school after court ruling". SBS News. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  32. ^ "AFIC used Malek Fahd Islamic School as a funding 'milk cow'". 18 May 2017.
  33. ^ Kozaki, Danuta (21 March 2018). "Australia's largest Islamic school could close after court ruling". ABC News. Retrieved 23 March 2018.