By Isatou Kanyi
A research paper on Islamic Banking in the Gambia by one Muhammed Sonko of the International Open University (IOU), has been published in the Journal of Islamic Finance in Malaysia.
Sonko, who was one of the most outstanding students in 2019 at the IOU, completed his four-year course on Islamic Banking at the IOU and continued his pursuit for excellence by successfully publishing a research paper, earning him international recognition.
Isatou B. Secka, Assistant Register of the IOU, said the importance of research is very crucial in finding solutions for people.
“We need to work towards making research to develop ourselves because development cannot go in the absence of education and education cannot develop in the absence of research,”Secka said. She said the IOU prepares every student doing the undergraduate or master’s program, to write a research thesis; that this is a requirement for each student to write a thesis which will be marked before one completes his or her program. Mrs. Secka said every student who attends IOU and passed through the University, can write thesis research.
“It is not only research of copy and paste but well organized research that can be published anywhere in the world,” she said.
Cherno Omar Barry, the President of the University said the university was founded about a decade ago by one Dr Bilal Philips, a Canadian-Jamaican who studied extensively Islam and Islamic Studies to provide people access to education.
Dr. Barry said they offer courses for certificate, diploma, advanced diploma levels and also undergraduate and master’s degree. He said their courses are offered in a way that no one misses class because you can always access it and people do their courses at their own pace.
Barry said distance learning is very crucial as it provides access to education to a large number of people who may not have accessed education owing to distance. He said IOU has an application to enable people to access classes and other materials wherever they are.
He said both Christians and Muslims can study at IOU contrary to the misconception of some people that their courses are only Muslims.
He said each of the students doing undergraduate and master’s degree courses is required to write a thesis before graduating
“People need to be reading. To read means to study and online education is evolving because conventional universities are appreciating online education,” he said.