Participants embarked on a year-long programme virtually
19 May 2020
1. 60 participants, all recent graduates of Islamic universities from Middle East and South East Asia, commenced their one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Islam in Contemporary Societies (PCICS) studies amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. During their second instructional week of the programme yesterday, they were joined by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli in a fire side chat via the Zoom virtual communication platform.
2. The importance of having religious leaders who are sensitised to Singapore’s evolving social norms, and increasingly diverse fabric and complex realities, were emphasised during the session. Their expertise will be paramount in applying their religious values appropriately in order to be relevant to the Singapore Muslim community. Participants of the programme are also encouraged to use PCICS as a platform to look for opportunities and contribute beyond the traditional scope for religious teachers, i.e. Islamic education, into other adjacent sectors such as counselling.
3. During the session, Mr Masagos shared about the current COVID-19 situation and its volatile economic impact. However, this also presents opportunities for the students. As Singapore recovers from COVID-19, there will be long-drawn economic repercussions and mid to longer-term shifts in social and workplace norms even after the tightened circuit breaker is eased. Students should already start planning for the future, so that when the situation recovers, they will be in a position of strength and can take advantage of new opportunities.
4. In concluding the session, Mr Masagos expressed hope that the PCICS participants will discover their unique areas of strength and interests, and go on to pursue different complementary routes that would all address contemporary and emerging challenges to socio-religious life of Singaporean Muslims.
5. The PCICS programme aims to give azatizah enhanced set of future-ready skills. The PCICS also functions as a bridge for asatizah who wish to continue in other non-traditional areas. Participants will have to complete seven modules, four skills workshops and a practicum. Upon completion of the programme, participants will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate, and full recognition as asatizah under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS).
6. The programme will include a practicum component, with internship opportunities and work placements to provide participants with practical learning experience. Participants will also have the opportunity to be mentored by senior asatizah and career professionals.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA