Interviews

Tahfiz Graduates To Get Skills Training For Employment & Entrepreneurship

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A Hafiz is somebody who memorized the Quran from cover to cover, they are the guardians of the word of Allah sent down to guide humanity. But do we know what problems they are facing? Well in Malaysia for once the education system has never been huffaz friendly.

In the past, becoming a hafiz is your last choice. When your child has a discipline problem or he has failed in academic studies, then you send them to a Tahfiz (Quranic Memorisation Academy). Now they are many, government-funded programs but the bar for entry is set way high. So much so it is as if you are applying to get into Harvard or Oxford.

From one angle this is good since it selects the best of the best to be the guardian of the Quran. From another angle, this policy pushes the non-straight A students to pursue their Quranic aspirations privately. Thus many had to abandon their dream of becoming a hafiz especially when they are faced with financial difficulties.

Noticing this problem, the Founder of a local college, decided to step in and provide a solution. Kolej Teknologi Midas is aiming to raise funding, via crowdfunding, to enable Tahfiz graduates as well as Tahfiz dropouts to complete their education while gaining income-generating skills.

We spoke with the founder of Kolej Teknologi Midas, Abdul Azis Md Aris, about the aspirations for the college to enable Tahfiz graduates and Tahfiz dropouts to pursue income-generating skills.

Shaping Tahfiz Graduates To Lead In Society

Currently, Tahfiz students who complete their Quran memorization studies only have skills in their related fields. This will make them employable as Imams or religious teachers.

While this is good, it would be better if these Tahfiz graduates (Huffaz – Quran memorizers) could lead in the overall society, rather than just hold religious positions.

About Midas

Kolej Teknologi Midas (Midas) is based in Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia. It is a private institution that offers national occupational skills training based on the curriculum set by the Department of Skills Development (Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran (JPK)), under the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources. It was established in 2012, and started operations in 2015.

The college currently offers courses in culinary preparation and in pastry, which are both internationally certified under City and Guild, a UK-certification body, as well as certifications from JPK.

Their current and prior student intakes are students who are between 15-25 years old, are healthy, able to read and write, or have completed Malaysian school-based assessments.

Their graduates have gone on to gain employment in the food industry.

Training Tahfiz Students

Kolej Teknologi Midas (Midas) is working with Perak Association of Tahfiz Schools (Persatuan Maahad Tahfiz Al-Quran Negeri Perak (PEMATAP)). PEMATAP has approximately five thousand students under their wings.

Midas will be offering three courses for Tahfiz graduates and Tahfiz dropouts:

  • Diploma In Food Preparation And Cooking (Culinary Arts) – certification from City and Guild, UK and JPK
  • Food Preparation And Cooking (Patisserie) – certification from City and Guild, UK and JPK
  • Welding – certification from American Welding Society, US and CIDB Malaysia

Most of the Tahfiz students come from financially-challenged backgrounds. Hence, Midas is proposing that their skills training by Midas to be fully sponsored, allowing these Tahfiz students to pursue their income-generating skills training.

The courses will be offered to both Tahfiz graduates and Tahfiz dropouts. The Tahfiz dropouts will also be able to pursue the same opportunities as other students.

In actuality, the Tahfiz dropouts have much to lose, as they are unable to complete the 30 chapters of Quran memorization, and at the same time, they lack the education for completing the national school certifications that most employers seek. Hence, Midas is offering these dropouts the same opportunities as other students.

Started With Two Tahfiz Students

Two brothers, Mohammad Nazri bin Nasaruddin and Mohammad Shazali bin Nasaruddin, joined Midas after dropping out of their Tahfiz education. They were educated up to Form 3 in a state government-run Tahfiz school before joining a private Tahfiz school in Form 4. They completed memorizing at least 20 juzu‘ (chapters of the Quran), before they dropped out of their Tahfiz education.

Mohammad Nazri bin Nasaruddin
Mohammad Shazali bin Nasaruddin

Luckily, they were able to enroll with Midas and continued their studies in Culinary Arts. They have since graduated at Midas and both are now working as Chef De Partie in Johor. As Chef De Partie, they are able to earn at least RM2,500 per month (~USD608).

Funding Amount Expected

Midas is targeting to enroll 20 Tahfiz students in total for its first batch of programs. Each student cost is estimated to be RM20,000 (~USD4,844) per student, and a total of RM400,000 (~USD 96,887) for a total of 20 Tahfiz students.

The student costs cover their tuition fees, as well as food and lodging. The college will provide accommodation and food for the students during their studies. The courses are between nine to eighteen months long, depending on the course taken. Midas is hoping to start its first enrolment by the first quarter of 2021.

Due to the COViD-19 pandemic, Midas is hoping to pursue fundraising via crowdfunding first, as various government agencies are facing an increasing demand for financial aids requests. Hence, the proposed skills training program is less of a priority for the government agencies for the moment.

With crowdfunding, Midas is hoping that their skills-based programs for these Tahfiz students and dropouts will be able to start earlier, rather than later.

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