MANILA, Philippines ? Muslim students of five public elementary and high schools in Manila are now learning the Arabic language and Muslim values.
Mayor Alfredo Lim said asatidz or Muslim teachers are handling the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (Alive) program that began last month at the Santiago Elementary School, Avanceña High School, Apolinario Mabini Elementary School, Aurora Quezon Elementary School and Baseco Elementary School.
The city government has deployed 18 asatidz to teach some 1,040 Muslim students in the five schools.
Areas like Quiapo have huge Muslim communities.
?This is in recognition of the multifaceted personalities and cultures of our young people, particularly our Muslim students. We have the schools to nurture them and the asatidz to teach them basic Islamic values,? Lim said.
Asatidz were trained by the Department of Education on English language skills, lesson planning and teaching strategies under the Beginning English for Asatidz (BEA) training program.
The BEA program equips the asatidz with the knowledge and skills to teach the Arabic language and Islamic-values in public schools with a significant number of Muslim students.
In a meeting Friday at the Manila City Hall, the mayor urged the asatidz ?to be the spark or light that will lead the Muslim students toward the road to academic excellence.?
?Knowledge is light. As asatidz, you have the awesome responsibility of imparting the knowledge that you have learned to the new generation of Muslims,? he said.
The Manila city government will give the asaditz a nominal fee until their pay can be included in the local budget.