Arkana College is a small independent primary school offering a unique educational experience. Its distinctiveness is due, in part, to its open enrolment policy. While the College is founded on a strong Islamic philosophy, it warmly welcomes children from other cultures and religions. The diverse range of experiences afforded by this policy leads the children to a better understanding and a greater tolerance of others.
The College’s location in Stoney Creek Road, Kingsgrove is central to and easily accessible by families from its catchment area.
The Egyptian Islamic Society of New South Wales Inc purchased the school premises (land and buildings) in 1986. The Society has, as part of its charter, an involvement in programs for welfare, for the aged, for women’s issues and for the youth of the Egyptian Islamic Community. It also runs Saturday Programs for Islamic Studies and Arabic language and it publishes its own monthly magazine.
Arkana College Limited is a non-profit company limited by guarantee. The College is a distinct entity from the Society in philosophy, in operation and in structure. The Society has permitted the College to use the premises as security for its working overdraft and for this reason the Society has representation on the Arkana Board.
In recent years the Society’s operational focus has centered on the areas of welfare and the youth. The Trustees of the Society, including its rank and file membership, have questioned the level of the Society’s resources being applied to primary education at Arkana.
While the Society fully supports the need for the school and readily acknowledges the quality of its educational achievements it sees its own community initiatives lying elsewhere. The following agreement was reached to allow the school to expand and the Society to put more effort into other services to the Muslim community.
- The Society sold the premises to the College for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) which is about seventy five thousand dollars ($75,000) below market value.
- The Society would provide an interest free loan by way of mortgage to the value of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000).
- The loan principle to be repaid over fifteen (15) years at an amount of $16,800 per year.
This arrangement would enable the College to immediate equity in its premises and would provide by way of a manageable mortgage, a sizable contribution towards a capital project.
The school authorities then put forward a two-stage purchase and refurbishment plan.
Stage 1 would see the refurbishment of the existing premises.
Stage 2 adds a much needed first floor extension.
The overall project, once completed would provide an adequate standard of facilities for teaching and learning at the school.
The school continued to grow, so the school authorities were busy raising funds for the proposed capital development. At the same time the school authority was actively seeking to have our funding support from the Commonwealth Government increased. In 1994 the school management went before the governing body with a case to support the schools increased funding level, to one that was more in line with this schools needs. This review was unsuccessful.
- In 1995 the school applied for and received Commonwealth funding to allow for the development of stage 1 and stage 2 to go ahead. The amount of government funding was $330,000.
- In February 1996, the school’s authority made the decision to purchase an adjoining property in which the school was given first offer ($250,000). The purchase of this property allowed for the relocation of some of the students whilst the refurbishment and re-building took place.
- In November 1997, the school community saw the commencement of the building project and this also marked the schools new ownership.
- Then in June 1998, the official opening of the newly refurbished buildings and new 1st storey building was held. The total amount of the project was in excess of $700,000, and the school contribution was in excess of 370,000.
- In 1999, the governing body once again put forward a submission for increased funding level. This was a long process, however in December 1999; the School was informed by the Minister of Education – Dr Kemp, of the school success at being placed in a higher funding category. This increased funding level has allowed the school to consolidate its capital and look to the future.
This school has continued to prosper, as many Muslim parents seek places for their children in an Islamic environment. To keep up with the demand, the school’s governing body (in 1999), purchased a portable class room to enable the school to continue to cater for community needs. In February 2000, a new purpose built portable building was leased and set up in the grounds of the school.
By 2008 the school had purchased two additional properties adjoining the original site and now has well resourced classrooms for K-6, a larger library, computer room, staff room and admin block. In March 2008 after 21 years loyal service (18 as Principal) Mrs. Madenia Abdurahman retired as school Principal and was replaced by Mr. Osman Karolia.
Under the leadership of Mr Osman Karolia, the school introduced regular zone sport and in-school sporting programs, interfaith activities with Jewish and Catholic schools and the introduction of interactive whiteboards in all classrooms. With the assistance of the Government’s BER program, the school was able to build 4 very spacious classrooms and a multi-purpose hall. The addition meant that all portables were removed and the playground area was expanded. Unfortunately, in 2010, Mr Osman Karolia resigned from Arkana College and set his sights on bigger and better things.
In 2011, Mr Sam Halbouni was appointed the new Principal. The school with the assistance of the Government’s BGA project have constructed a new administration wing, library and computer lab. The addition has meant that the administrative staff are in well equiped offices and the teachers in a new staffroom. The students have also benefited greatly from the spacious library and Information Technology lab. Ipads have been incoprorated into the teaching programs and laptops are used during Technology sessions. Furthermore, the playground has been expanded with further softfill to ensure students have a greater, yet safer area to move around in. A basketball court is being planned for and will be completed shortly.
Furthermore, the entire staff of Arkana College are trained in Spalding to equip them with further skills and practices most crucial to the development of reading. Our teaching programs have reflected the essential instructional components of effective reading programs. Mathletics, an online mathematical program has also been incoprorated into teaching and learing programs to consolidate learning in Mathematics.