Dr. Larry Muhammad is the National Director of Muhammad Universities of Islam. He shares the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s vision on education and has many innovative ideas in bringing that vision into fruition. He shared a few words with Sis. Kathleen X and Bro. Kareem Abdullah on different topics including what could be expected in the future from Muhammad Universities of Islam.
Muhammad University of Islam (M.U.I.): What first interested you in pursuing a degree in education?
Larry Muhammad (LM): I left high school to study aviation and become a commercial airline pilot. I never had any interest in education, because my experiences in school weren’t very positive. After switching my major to finance, my counselor–Ms. Mandela (a South African sister) encourage me to study education because they needed more men and there were scholarships available. I took her recommendation with the intent of teaching school while working on an MBA, because I was still interested in being a businessman. During my study of education, I had a class on the Foundations of American Education.
During this class I learned how education was truly the central focus of governments and civilization. I learned that the American educational system was founded on the German model of education and how the forefathers of America were educators and scholars themselves. People such as Thomas Jefferson had powerful insights into the role and future of education. I had already been in the Nation of Islam for three years before this point, so I saw all of my study through the lens of the work of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which was centered around education and establishing an educational center for Black and indigenous people. From that point on, my desire was to help The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan establish an educational system that was centered around the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which is connected to the coming of Allah(God).
M.U.I.: How would rate your first year here?
LM: Excellent! We had a great deal of challenges and obstacles, but Allah blessed us to move the education agenda forward. A tremendous amount of progress was made and this year the people will see the fruits of that labor.
M.U.I.: What is the aim and purpose for the weekly summer professional development sessions?
LM: To bring all of the educators in the Nation of Islam and supporters together to improve the quality of teaching and educational programs and services that M.U.I. and the N.O.I.’s Ministry of Education offers to the public.
M.U.I.: How will these sessions reacquaint us with the educational program of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad?
LM: They will provide teachers with much needed support in learning how to make the spiritual connections and build on to the academic standards. Teachers will also have the opportunity to be trained in instructional techniques and methods to enhance the quality of learning for every child.
M.U.I.: What can parents and students expect from the 2008-2009 Curriculum?
LM: A curriculum with a spiritual base, rooted in the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, with the highest academic standards offered by high performing schools throughout the world.
M.U.I.: The newly revised National M.U.I. Curriculum requires that spiritual connections be made, in terms of developing lesson plans. What kind of effect do you anticipate this will have on the school environment?
LM: We will see students who are more God centered and balanced in life. We have a challenge in America to pull children towards Allah and away from the material pursuits of this world.
M.U.I.: What prompted you to add the Academic Enrichment program? What direction is it now headed in?
LM: The academic enrichment program will enhance the academic program, providing knowledge and skills in specialty areas such as, robotics, photography, and chess among other areas of study. The program is being converted into Academic Enrichment Institutes that allow for students to major in a particular area that will eventually become their expertise entering adulthood.
M.U.I.: What were your expectations for the 2008 Educational Conference? Were they met, or exceeded?
LM: The expectations were to bring the educator’s together and improve the quality of the educational services we offer, to build the communication and networking potential of educators throughout the nation, and to launch a successful school year where all educators are brought current on all of the initiatives MUI has launched, including the curriculum, MUI online, and the Medical Scholarship Program with Cuba.
M.U.I.: During the Keynote address of the 2008 Educational Conference, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated that we need a new “educational paradigm.” What do these profound words mean to you?
LM: Looking at education through the eyes of God and making children and education the priority of public policy. The new educational paradigm must provide a foundation for students to leave school with the tools to build a new world, as opposed to maintaining broken systems.
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