Iqbal, Javed (2012) Digital Literacy and Access for Educational Inclusion: A Comparative Study of British Muslim Girls Schools. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The educatiuonal achievements of British Muslims, particularly South Asians, have been studied in past decades, but, unfortunately, the impact of digital technologies on young Muslim children has not recieved sufficient attention. In addition, past studies mostly relied on quantitative methods to gain knowledge on the educational achievements of British Muslims.

The thesis is grounded in a qualitative approach within a social constructionist paradigm, to elicit the views of young British Muslim girls on their use of digital technologies for educational achievements. The data presented were obtained by carrying out semi-structured interviews with a sample of young (14-19 year old) British Muslim girls at three single-sex Islamic faith schools, and were analysed using mainly template analysis, and also matrix analysis and cross-case analysis within and cross the case studies.

It was found that most of the female Muslim students interviewed for this research study were satisfied and performed competently at case Islamic faith schools. Furthermore, the educational success at school A was attributable to educational norms and values relative to the provision of digital resources and skilled teaching staff. The educational experiences of school B and C were problematic, largely because of access to digital technologies, and provision of digital content and skilled teaching staff. Another factor of students’ underachievement was found to be that parents had limited levels of education and inadequate understanding of the education. Most of the students had a positive attitude towards the technologies.

The thesis concludes that the educational achievement of British Muslim girls in schools is closely related to access to digital technologies, digital academic content, skilled academic staff and the technological, infrastructure in schools. The net effect of digital technologies is positive on Muslim girls in the increasingly competitive nature of the education system.

The thesis is original and the first study of this kind that offers an insight into the access to digital technologies and educational attainment of young British Muslin girls that is reflected in key concepts through the usage and incorporation of technologies in education. Other aspects of this research include the issues of provision of technologies at home and parents’ educational level, contribution to knowledge, and the need for further broader and longitudinal study.

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