Leading trends of Fethullah Gulen’s educational activity

Gulen movement is based on educational thoughts of Fethullah Gulen which are about improving the world by making school reforms in order to modify teaching content and curriculum. In turn, it is referred as one of the achievements of Gulen movement. In fact, the movement is the source for multifaceted projects and accomplishing undertaken projects. Members of the Gulen movement have been implementing charity and philanthropic projects of different ranges and different sizes cooperatively. Among them we can list projects of medical assistance, clean water supply, and support to victims of natural disasters and discrimination, support to orphans in war places and facilitation to solve the social issues of nations. Additionally, there are gigantic organizations fruitfully implementing missions of spreading ideas of the movement in a systematic and coherent manner. The work and actions of these organizations are worth to set examples.

In 1990s, millions of volunteers joined to support Gulen’s ideas and implemented numerous work projects; as a result Gulen movement attained tremendous social importance. The movement had great success not only in the Islamic but also in other countries. Teachers who moved abroad to open new schools, students who went to different countries to gain education as well as entrepreneurs who relocated to different parts of the world to develop their businesses contributed to fast spread of the movement.

Gulen himself does not approve the name ‘Gulen schools’ and ‘Gulen movement.’ In his speeches he most often uses the term ‘Hizmet’ movement which means “the movement of humans united around high human values”. The followers of this movement realize that they serve not Gulen, but humanity; and by serving the humanity, they please the Creator. Followers of the movement hold big respect to Gulen because he has inspired them for all their good deeds and charity works. What was the reason of the movement’s success in Turkey and in international arena?

First of all, Fethullah Gulen proved that education had tremendous importance. He stated that illiteracy was the root of the most dangerous and obstructive social diseases such as discrimination, poverty and ignorance which slow down the growth and development of the society. As a remedy to cure this disease, he offered international model of education and upbringing of youth. Over time, millions of people trusted this model.

Second, Gulen clearly demonstrated the ways to implement these ideas into practice; he also indicated concrete steps to undertake. According to him, there are two most important theories to reach the goal. First is the resource mobilization theory which includes both human and economic resources. To meet today’s educational criteria; new schools must be equipped with modern technologies. Quality education requires powerful financial capacity and highly qualified educating personnel. Therefore, the role of human resources that is capable of generating economic resources is crucial for organizational growth. The resource mobilization theory has been continuously researched in numerous scholars’ works. This theory is discussed in the book of renowned world sociologist, emeritus professor of the North Carolina University, Anthony Oberschall Social conflicts and social movements. Political scientist, famous sociologist and professor at the University of Harvard, Dr. Charles Tilly in his work From mobilization to revolution also discusses the resource mobilization theory. Professor Mag Adam and his colleagues from Stanford University, California, accent on the theory role in the book Social movements published in 1988. The politician, scientist of the University of North Carolina, Senator John Edwards on his work Resources and the social movement mobilization written in 2000, thoroughly explains the resource mobilization theory as well.

Thus, M. Fethullah Gulen’s educational philosophy was based on the solid foundation of contemporary social sciences, with that he anticipated today’s world movement and future trends of humanity.

The second important theory is the organizational commitment theory. Its idea is to motivate members to generate necessary resources, enforce commitment towards movement’s goals and by that enhance continuous development and growth of the movement. This theory was highlighted in the book of Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who is regarded as one of the most powerful women in the world and is honored professor of the Harvard University, Commitment and community: communes and utopias in sociological perspective, 1972. Education is the long investment project. Long years of commitment, patience and resources are needed in order to raise and educate a child.

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