If you decide to hire a tutor to teach your child Quran, Arabic or Islamic Studies at home, you must ensure that you do all that is possible to determine the safety and suitability of the tutor for working with your child.
No doubt, when dealing with teachers of the Quran and Islamic sciences, we begin with confidence in their integrity and honesty. Nevertheless, it is in the best interest of the child to have in mind that sexual exploitation or any type of abuse can happen here and anywhere, and hence take preemptive measures to prevent any harm being inflicted on your child.
Stories of child abuse have repeatedly shown how naivety on the part of parents and carers have allowed tragedies to take place; as a result changing children’s lives and staining their innocence forever. Indeed, we have a good model in Omar bin Al-Khattab who was narrated to have beautifully said: ‘I am not a deceiver and a deceiver will not fool me’.
Below is a list of actions that should be carried out before agreeing for a tutor to teach your child:
1- Ask for an Enhanced DBS clearance
By law, any adult working with children must have Enhanced DBS clearance. It is important that you see the latest certificate available or even better if you are issued with a new one or given access to view their certificate online via the Update Service.
Do not disregard this step on the basis of having attained a positive impression or good feedback from other parents about the tutor.
A mosque in Lancashire agreed to hire a volunteer on those basis, only to shortly be informed by police that he is a paedophile with history of sex offences against young boys.
It is not surprising that criminals who committed child abuse have served their jail sentence and are now free on the streets; hunting for their next secret job and victim. Their vile actions will mean that it is near impossible for them to work in mainstream schools, but unless their latest DBS certificate is checked, they can easily get away with teaching at people’s homes without their criminal past being revealed.
2- Ask for Evidence of Attending Child Protection Training
It is also a legal requirement for anyone working with children to attend Safeguarding and Child Protection Training at least every three years. This training educates teachers on types and signs of abuse, how to deal with it and what is acceptable and unacceptable in teacher-child relations.
3- Ask for references
That is professional recommendation from his/her previous or current employer, lecturer who is not related to the tutor. First ask for the contact details of two references and tell the tutor that you will be contact with them. Here are suggestions for questions you could ask the references.
4- Ask for CV & evidence of qualifications
A CV will highlight the knowledge, experience and qualifications gained by the tutor which will help you judge the competency of the tutor to teach the required subjects.
In addition, a CV will reveal any gaps in the tutor’s career or jobs, which may reveal something they do not necessarily wish to reveal such as gap due to serving a prison sentence.
But CV alone is not enough, as it can easily be forged. You should also ask for evidence of qualifications, such as a certificate of Ijazah, Diploma in Arabic or Islamic Studies.
5- Ask for Recommendations
If the tutor has taught before, their previous clients (families or children) could offer crucial feedback worthy of your knowledge to help you make the right decision. Simply ask friends and neighbours who worked him before. If he/she is unknown in your locality, it is not disrespectful at all to ask to be put in touch with a previous client who would recommend the tutor for your child.
If the tutor is offended by your request, then they are most probably not suitable for your child and it is better to be safe than sorry.
6- Ask some questions
Ask general questions to help you determine the tutor’s experience and motivation for working with children. Click here to download a list of questions.
7- Hire a tutor of the same sex as your child
Due to the nature of private tutoring, the tutor and child are seated with close proximity to each other and work in a room or corner well away from the hustle and bustle of the host family. Islamic netiquettes advise that members of the opposite gender should not be in such conditions -even if it is to teach or learn the Quran. The only acceptable circumstances for the opposite gender to work together is in a public and open place. Hence it is important that you hire a tutor that is of the same sex and gender as your child.
Negligence of this protective measure has previously led to catastrophic outcomes, such as what happened to this poor child who was raped in her own home and impregnated by her Islamic Studies tutor in Hayes, West London.
8- Stay vigilant
Even after doing all the above steps, you must stay vigilant. You should regularly ask for evidence of progress and explanation if you are told your child is not making progress. Additionally, you should review with your child the topics that were covered and assess how well the he/she has understood the subject matter.
Above all, do not stop making Dua for your child’s safety, righteousness, character, Iman and knowledge. Remind them to remember Allah frequently in the mornings and evenings and ask Allah for protection using the beautiful Duas taught to us by the prophet peace be upon Him.