The Educational Effectiveness of Gülen-inspired Schools: The Case of Nigeria
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This qualitative case study examined the perceptions of the efficacy of the Gülen educational initiative and provides an analysis of the educational viability of "Gülen-inspired" schools in Nigeria using interviews of members of four groups of stakeholders in the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges (NTIC). This study employed a qualitative methodology with case study approach in which twenty-two individuals participated, among them three administrators, seven Nigerian/Turkish teachers, eight students, and four' parents. Interviews were conducted on a one-to-one basis and in small focus groups to elicit the lived experience of people involved with the schools. The interview questions concerned the effectiveness of Gülen-inspired schools in Nigeria and their role positive educational change in this country. Data collection consisted beyond the interviews was collected through classroom observations, field notes, and engagement with school provided documents. After collection, data was coded using computer software to determine dominant themes occurring in the data. The categorized data was then analyzed to draw generalization regarding stakeholders' perceptions that were then considered in light of conclusions drawn from observations and field-notes. Through content analyses, the researcher derived a sense of the elements of education that characterize NTIC schools and other schools founded on principles found in the philosophy of education supported by the Gülen Movement (Hizmet Movement). An overview of NTIC schools, drawn primarily from interviews with the General Director of NTIC schools, is offered and this is followed by discussion of the four major themes found in the data and the six sub-themes in found in the major themes. The study finds that Gülenian education, as it is being implemented in Nigeria, according to the reflections of those involved with the institutions, does work to expose students to people of different geographical areas of Nigeria, people who often are of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. School organization and activities allow students to experience those different themselves in a safe setting resulting in their learning to appreciate one another. The study concludes that NTIC schools are successful in promoting academic achievement in an environment that also teaches sound values and acceptance of others through curriculum, schools organization, and the quality of the people who work in the schools, people who are diligent, hardworking, giving, and dedicated to improving quality of life in Nigeria through education. Students, it appears, through adult examples of exemplary behavior grow to appreciate those who serve out of love and sense of humanity causing many students to consider career paths that involve service to country.