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THE CONTRIBUTION OF CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN SOFT SKILLS AND PERSONALITY

DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF IIUM UNDERGRADUATES

BY

NOVIANA MUSTAPA

A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Kulliyyah of Education

International Islamic University Malaysia

JULY 2016

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ABSTRACT

This study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the questionnaire on the contribution of co-curricular activities in developing soft skills and the Islamic Personality using Rasch analysis. In addition, this study sought to investigate students’

perceptions of the contribution of co-curricular activities in developing soft skills and the ideal Islamic personality at IIUM across (a) gender, (b) type of co-curricular activities program and (c) program of the study or kulliyyah. Using an embedded mixed-method design, the quantitative data was elicited through a survey, while the additional explanation for quantitative data was collected via students’ essays on their view on the contribution of co-curricular activities in developing soft skills and personality. The sample group was selected from 400 final year undergraduate students at IIUM Gombak campus through simple random sampling. The questionnaire consisting of 93 items was analyzed using the Rasch model analysis.

The results indicated that the questionnaire possesses sound psychometric properties.

It was found that the most difficult skill category in the construct was the entrepreneurship skill. In addition, the analyses elicited from independent sample t- test and one-way ANOVA on the perception of the contribution of co-curricular activities in developing soft skills and the Islamic personality across gender, type of co-curricular activities and program of the study found that male students scored higher than female students in leadership skills, creative thinking skills, and entrepreneurship skills. With regard to type of co-curricular activities, the result of the study suggests that students in niche area programs scored higher than those in main stream programs. However, it was found that there is no significant difference across program of the study. In general, this study produces an instrument to measure the contribution of IIUM co-curricular activities in developing soft skills and Islamic personality. In addition, the results of the study indicate that students perceived that co-curricular activities play a significant contribution in developing their soft skills and facilitate towards achieving the ideal Islamic personality. Nevertheless, the training of entrepreneurship skills in co-curricular activities should be further improved. Finally, this study provides a new Islamic model for co-curricular activities in the Islamic higher learning institutions by adding the Islamic dimensions. Further investigations are necessary to explore other dimensions of co-curricular activities from the Islamic perspective.

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ABSTRACT IN ARABIC

unidimensionality soft skills

Rasch

Model soft skills

IIUM

(Rasch Model

.

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APPROVAL PAGE

The dissertation of Noviana Mustapa has been examined and approved by the following:

______________________

Syed Alwi Shahab Supervisor

_______________________

Ainol Madziah Zubairi Internal Examiner

________________________

Hairul Nizam Ismail External Examiner

_________________________

Nooraini Otman External Examiner

_________________________

Abdul Razak Bin Sapian Chairman

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DECLARATION

I hereby declare that this dissertation is the result of my own investigations, except where otherwise stated. I also declare that it has not been previously or concurrently submitted as a whole for any other degrees at IIUM or other institution.

Noviana Mustapa

Signature: ………... Date: ………..

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COPYRIGHT

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA

DECLARATION OF COPYRIGHT AND AFFIRMATION OF FAIR USE OF UNPUBLISHED RESEARCH

THE ROLE OF CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN DEVELOPING SOFT SKILLS AND THE ISLAMIC PERSONALITY: A RASCH PROFILING STUDY OF IIUM

UNDERGRADUATES

I declare that the copyright holder of this dissertation are jointly owned by the student and IIUM.

Copyright © 2016 Noviana Mustapa and International Islamic University Malaysia. All rights reserved.

No part of this unpublished research may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder except as provided below

1. Any material contained in or derived from this unpublished research may be used by others in their writing with due acknowledgement.

2. IIUM or its library will have the right to make and transmit copies (print or electronic) for institutional and academic purposes.

3. The IIUM library will have the right to make, store in a retrieved system and supply copies of this unpublished research if requested by other universities and research libraries.

By signing this form, I acknowledged that I have read and understand the IIUM Intellectual Property Right and Commercialization policy.

Affirmed by Noviana Mustapa

……..……….. ………..

Signature Date

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DEDICATION

This study is dedicated to

International Islamic University Malaysia, especially Co-curricular Activity Centre For educating the ummah through co-curricular activities

and

Research Management Centre, IIUM For research grant to fund this research

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

In the name of the Almighty Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful.

First of foremost, I owe everything to Almighty Allah for giving me endless strength, grace and wisdom in my life. To Him alone be all the glory.

I wish to extend my special thanks for great support and significant intellectual contribution of many individuals to whom I am most grateful. First and foremost, I would like to extend an honorable gratitude and appreciation to my supervisors and advisors, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syed Alwi Shahab; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ssekamanya Siraje Abdallah; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ismail Sheikh Ahmad; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ainol Madziah Zubairi, Dr. Kamal J. Badrasawi; and Dr. Dairabi Kamil for their support, assistance, and valuable advices in reviewing my dissertation.

My endless gratitude and appreciation to all lecturers of the Kulliyyah of Education, International Islamic University Malaysia who have shared their precious knowledge and experiences during my period of study. May Allah reward them for their good deeds as teachers and educators for the ummah. My deep appreciation also addressed to the administrative staffs of Postgraduate office at the Kulliyyah of Education, IIUM; Sr. Norsiah Yahya and Sr. Norazlinda for their help, support and assistances.

I would like to dedicate my endless gratefulness to my parents, husband, and family for their genuine love, support and constant prayers. A special gratitude goes to my beloved fellows and friends: Santika Sari, Eka, Ricardo, Eva Noviana Budiyanti, Amisah, Anas, Muhammad Zakki Azzani, Hameeda Abulaeva and Novi Adri for their help and assistances. May Allah reward all of you with His blessing in this world and hereafter.

Finally, I wish to record my thanks to Centre for Postgraduate Studies, IIUM for scholarship grant during my Ph.D study; Research Management Centre, IIUM for research fund to conduct this study; and Student Development Office for granting me the permission of conducting this study.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ... ii

Abstract in Arabic ... iii

Approval Page ... iv

Declaration ... v

Copyright ... vi

Dedication ... vii

Acknowledgements ... viii

List of Tables ... xii

List of Figures ... xv

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ... 1

1.1 Background of Study ... 1

1.2 Statement of the Problem... 8

1.3 Objectives of the Study ... 11

1.4 Research Questions ... 12

1.5 Significance of the Study ... 13

1.6 Limitation and Delimitation of the Study ... 14

1.7 Definition of Operational Terms ... 14

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW ... 21

2.1 Definition of Soft Skills ... 21

2.2 Soft Skills from the Islamic Perspective ... 24

2.3 Overview of Student Development Theories ... 30

2.4 Co-Curricular Activities and Soft Skills Developments ... 37

2.5 Overview of Personality Development from the Islamic Perspective ... 42

2.5.1 The Concept of Human Nature in Islam ... 42

2.5.2 The Spiritual Dimension of Man and Its Relationship to Personality Development ... 44

2.5.3 Personality from the Islamic Perspective ... 48

2.5.4 Method of Personality Development in Islam ... 52

2.6 Overview of Co-Curricular Activities and Soft Skill at IIUM ... 54

2.7 Summary ... 70

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ... 77

3.1 Research Design ... 77

3.2 Population and Sample of the Study ... 79

3.3 Response Rate and Participants’ Demographic Variables... 80

3.4 Instrument of the Study ... 82

3.5 Pilot Study ... 85

3.6 Instrument of the Main Study ... 87

3.6.1 Person Fit Statistics ... 88

3.6.2 Item Polarity ... 89

3.6.3 Item Fit Statistics ... 89

3.6.4 Item Reliability and Item Separation Indices ... 91

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CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS OF THE STUDY ... 92

4.1 Introduction... 92

4.2 Results of Data Analysis ... 93

4.2.1 Research Question 1: To what extent does the questionnaire possess sound psychometric properties? ... 93

4.2.1.1 Unidimensionality ... 93

4.2.1.2 Person Measure ... 95

4.2.1.3 Item Reliability and Item Separation Indices ... 96

4.2.2 Research question 2: What is the order of difficulty of the item and each dimension in the questionnaire on the contribution of co-curricular activities in developing student’s soft skills and the ideal Islamic personality ... 97

4.2.3 Research question 3: What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their soft skills and helping them to achieve the ideal Islamic personality (al-Insan al-Kamil)? How do co-curricular activities help them in enhancing their soft skills and wholesome personality, specifically: ... 98

4.2.3.1 Construct 1: Team Work Skill ... 105

4.2.4 Research Question 3 (b): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their communication skills? ... 111

4.2.4.1 Construct 2: Communication Skills ... 111

4.2.5 Research Question 3 (c): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their creative thinking and problem solving skills? ... 119

4.2.5.1 Construct 3: Creative Thinking and Problem Solving Skills ... 119

4.2.6 Research Question 3 (d): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their leadership skill? ... 124

4.2.6.1 Construct 4: Leadership Skill ... 124

4.2.7 Research Question 3 (e): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their lifelong learning and information management skills? ... 129

4.2.7.1 Construct 5: Lifelong Learning and Information Management Skills ... 129

4.2.8 Research Question 3 (f): What are IIUM students’ perception on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their moral and professional ethics skills? ... 134

4.2.8.1 Construct 6: Moral and Professional Ethics Skills ... 134

4.2.9 Research Question 3 (g): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their entrepreneurial skills? ... 138

4.2.9.1 Construct 7: Entrepreneurial Skills ... 138

4.2.10 Research Question 3 (h): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their relationship with God? ... 142

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4.2.10.1Construct 8: The Relationship between Man and

God ... 142

4.2.11 Research Question 3 (i): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their relationship with the self? ... 150

4.2.11.1 Construct 9: The Relationship between Man and the Self ... 150

4.2.12 Research Question 3 (j): What are IIUM students’ perceptions on the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their relationship with others? ... 158

4.2.12.1 Construct 10: The Relationship between Man with Others ... 158

4.2.13 Research Question 3 (k): What are IIUM students’ perceptions the impact of co-curricular activities in enhancing their Islamic values? ... 167

4.2.13.1 Construct 11: Islamic Values ... 167

4.2.14 Research Question 4: Does the perception on the role of co- curricular activities in developing soft skills and the holistic Islamic personality differ across the following variables?: ... 178

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, DISCUSSION, AND RECOMENDATIONS ... 191

5.1 Summary ... 191

5.2 Discussion of the Results ... 198

5.3 Conclusion and Recommendations... 215

BIBLIOGRAPHY ... 223

APPENDIX A: SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE ... 231

APPENDIX B: KUSTIONAIR KEMAHIRAN INSANIAH ... 239

APPENDIX C: ITEM POLARITY-PILOT STUDy ... 241

APPENDIX D: PERSON FIT STATISTICS- PILOT STUDY ... 243

APPENDIX E: ITEM FIT STATISTICS- PILOT STUDY ... 244

APPENDIX F: PERSON FIT STATISTICS ... 245

APPENDIX G: ITEM POLARITY ... 248

APPENDIX H: ITEM LOADING ... 250

APPENDIX I: PERSON MEASURE ... 251

APPENDIX J: FIT STATISTICS ... 253

APPENDIX K: ITEM MAP ... 255

APPENDIX L: PERSON-ITEM MAP ... 256

APPENDIX M: RESPONDENTS’ ESSAY ... 257

APPENDIX N: THEME IDENTIFICATION ... 277

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1 Degree of Dominance over and Subservience to the Animal

Forces of Anger and Appetite 47

Table 2.2 The Indicator of men-God relationship 60

Table 2.3 The Indicator of Men-the Self Relationship 61

Table 2.4 The Indicator of Men-Other Human Beings and the Environment

Relationship 62

Table 2.5 The Indicator of Islamic values 63

Table 2.6 Co-curricular activity study plan (for undergraduate students) 65

Table 2.7 *Skills for Level 3 (Skill 1 And Skill 2) 66

Table 3.1 Final year of undergraduate Student Population of IIUM semester

2, 2011/2012 (as of February 2012) 79

Table 3.2 Distribution of Respondents’ Demographic Background 82 Table 3.3 The comparison between the original questionnaire on soft skills

formulated by Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (2006) and

the modified-version of the questionnaire. 83

Table 3.4 Dimensions of construct: The contribution of co-curricular activities to develop students’ soft skills and the Islamic

Personality. 83

Table 3.5 Item Reliability- Pilot Study 87

Table 3.6 Person Reliability- Pilot Study 87

Table 3.7 Summary of Person Fit Statistics 89

Table 3.8 Misfitting Response Strings on Item 41, 42, 44, and 45 91 Table 3.9 Summary Statistics (Item Reliability Index-Item Separation

Index) 91

Table 4.1 Table of Standardized Residual Variance 93

Table 4.2 Summary Statistics of 400 Measured Persons 96

Table 4.3 Summary Statistics (Item Reliability Index-Item Separation

Index) 96

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Table 4.4 Item-Person Reliability Index 100

Table 4.5 Mean Measure of The items (In Logit) 101

Table 4.6 Summary of Mean Measure of the Constructs 104

Table 4.7 Item-person reliability index of team work skill factor (11

measured items) 105

Table 4.8 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co-

Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Team Work Skill 110 Table 4.9 Item-Person Reliability Index of Communication Skill Factor (7

Measured Items) 112

Table 4.10 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co-

Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Communication Skills 118 Table 4.11 Item-Person Reliability Index of Creative Thinking and Problem

Solving Factor (7 Measured Items). 120

Table 4.12 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co- Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Creative Thinking and

Problem Solving Skills 123

Table 4.13 Item-Person Reliability Index of Leadership Skill Factor (7

Measured Items). 125

Table 4.14 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co-

Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Leadership Skills 128 Table 4.15 Item-Person Reliability Index of Lifelong Learning and

Information Management Skill Factor (4 Measured Items) 130 Table 4.16 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co-

Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Lifelong Learning and

Information Management Skill 133

Table 4.17 Item-Person Reliability Index of Moral and Professional Ethics

Skill of Factor (4 Measured Items). 134

Table 4.18 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co- Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Moral and Professional

Ethics 138

Table 4.19 Item-Person Reliability Index of Entrepreneurial Skill Factor (5

Measured Items). 139

Table 4.20 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co-

Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Entrepreneurial Skills 142

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Table 4.21 Item-Person Reliability Index of the Relationship Man-God

Factor (12 Measured Items). 143

Table 4.22 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co-

Curricular Activities to Enhance Students’ Relationship with God 149 Table 4.23 Item-Person Reliability Index of the Relationship Man and the

Self Factor (10 Measured Items). 151

Table 4.24 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co- Curricular Activities to Develop Students’ Relationship with the

Self 157

Table 4.25 Item-Person Reliability Index of the Relationship between Man-

Others Dimension (13 Measured Items). 159

Table 4.26 Significant Meaning Statements on the Contribution of Co- Curricular Activities to Develop Students’ Relationship with

Others 166

Table 4.27 Item-Person Reliability Index of Islamic Values Factor (13

Measured Items). 168

Table 4.28 Respondents’ Opinions on the Contribution of Co-Curricular

Activities in Infusing Islamic Values 173

Table 4.29 Independent sample t-test on the role of co-curricular activities in

developing soft skills and the Islamic personality across Gender 182 Table 4.30 Independent sample t-test on the role of co-curricular activities in

developing soft skills and the Islamic personality across type of

program in co-curricular activities 187

Table 4.31 One-Way ANOVA for the perception of the role of co-curricular activities in developing soft skills and the Islamic personality

across kulliyyah 189

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1 The model of student’s psychosocial development 34 Figure 2.2 The UMT’s Holistic Framework for Students in Sulayman Yassin

(2008) p.579 41

Figure 2.3 Imam al-Ghazali’s Theory of Dynamic Interaction on Personality

(as cited by Yasin Mohammad, 1998) 46

Figure 2.4 Iqbal’s Model of Personality Development in Mohd Abbas Abdul

Razak (2011) p. 287 50

Figure 3.1 Embedded Mixed-Method Design (Creswell & Plano Clark,

2007: 68) 78

Figure 4.1 Mean Measure of the 11 Dimensions of the Construct 98 Figure 4.2 Mean Measure of The item (Team Work Skills Dimension) 107 Figure 4.3 Mean Measure of The item (Communication Skills Dimension) 114 Figure 4.4 Mean Measure of The item (Creative Thinking and Problem

Solving Skills Dimension) 121

Figure 4.5 Mean Measure of The item (Leadership Skills Dimension) 126 Figure 4.6 Mean Measure of The item (Lifelong Learning and Information

Management Skills Dimension) 131

Figure 4.7 Mean Measure of The item (Moral and Professioanl Ethics Skills

Dimension) 136

Figure 4.8 Mean Measure of The item (Entrepreneurial Skill Dimension) 140 Figure 4.9 Mean Measure of The item (The relationship Man and God

Dimension) 145

Figure 4.10 Mean Measure of The item (The relationship Man and The self

Dimension) 153

Figure 4.11 Mean Measure of The item (The relationship Man and others

Dimension) 161

Figure 4.12 Mean Measure of The item (The Islamic Values) 170 Figure 5.1 Mean Measure of the 11 Dimensions of the Construct 200

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Figure 5.2 The Islamic model for the co-curricular activities in the Islamic

higher learning institutions 221

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY

In recent decades, co-curricular activities in the higher learning institutions have been considered as an integral part of the educational process to enhance students’

cognitive, affective and psychomotor development in higher learning institutions. A study conducted by Machado, Almeida and Soares (2002) on academic experience revealed that the involvement of students in co-curricular activities is positively correlated with the students’ self-esteem and autonomy. In a similar study conducted on the effect of involvement in clubs and organizations on psychosocial development shows a significant correlation (Foubertand & Grainger, 2006). Furthermore, in a study on leadership development among college students found that co-curricular experiences contributed to the development of leadership skills and team work skills among the students (Dugan, 2007) and (Ahmad Essa & Hisham Jamaluddin, 2009).

Several studies on co-curricular activities in the higher learning institutions also addressed the importance of co-curricular activities to develop communication skills (Rosli Saadan, Mohamad Bokhari, Aziz Yahya, Muhd Akmal Noor Rajikon, Syed Najmuddin Syed Hassan & Asiah Mohd Pilus, 2011); thinking and creativity skills (Chin Pek Lian, Low Li Chuen & Vivian Low Yen Yong, 2005); emotional- spiritual quotients and professional ethics skills (Sulayman Yassin, Fauziah Abu Hasan, Wan Amin, & Nur Amunudin, 2008); and entrepreneurship skills (Solahudin Abdul Hamid & Che Zarina Sa’ari, 2011).

Furthermore, Roselina Shakir (2009) emphasized the importance of seven soft skills elements including ethical/moral skills, communication skills, teamwork skills,

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critical thinking and problem solving skills, leadership skills, lifelong learning and information management skills, and entrepreneurship skills for the development of human capital. She explained that these seven soft skills were introduced as a response to employers’ dissatisfaction with the graduate students’ performances in the workplace. Employers unanimously agree that university graduates in general are academically proficient, but lacking in soft skills for national and global competencies, such as communication, problem solving, competitiveness, and creative thinking.

Devadason, Subramaniam and Daniel (2010) in their study on final year undergraduates’ perception of the integration of soft skills in the formal curriculum in Malaysian public universities emphasized the ability of the higher learning institutions to provide the best output to serve both the national and international job markets. The study also addresses the issue of graduate unemployment, as a background and focus of the study. The finding of study reveals that the integration of soft skills in the formal curriculum helps to produce graduates with comprehensive academic proficiency and soft skills for the job market. A study conducted by Nikitana and Furuoka (2010) supported the importance and values of soft skills in higher learning institution in line with the official discourse on soft skills formation based on a constructivist pedagogical approach to support the academic program.

Moreover, the development of soft skills through co-curricular activities in the higher learning institution also have important role in shaping individual’s personality.

Mehmood Tahir, Hussain Tariq, Khalid Mubashira, and Azam Rabia (2012) in their study on the impact of co-curricular activities on personality development revealed that co-curricular activities play a significant role in personality development in

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developing confidence, honesty, sociability, sympathetic attitude, sense of responsibility, social obligation, and adaptation.

In addition, Schulz (2008) in his study on the importance of soft skills beyond academic knowledge argued that soft skills in higher learning education have an important role in shaping an individual’s personality by complementing student’s hard skills. He said:

Soft skills are shaping human beings’ personality. Any educator’s dream is that graduates, especially from tertiary education institutions, should not only be experts in a certain field but matured personalities with a well balanced, rounded off education. However, this characteristic is reflected in soft skills, not in hard skills (Schulz, 2008:

p. 151).

Through co-curricular activities, character and personality can be developed.

Shuriye (2011) contended that halaqah/usrah (study circle) in the co-curricular activities program contributed to development of personal and intellectual development by enhancing knowledge related to religious issues and inner spirit. In addition, the involvement in the study circle (halaqah) is also considered as a way to strengthen the sense of brotherhood (ukhwah) and also for intellectual training because in the halaqah, the member of the halaqah usually exchange their views with others on many issues related to religion, economics, politics and society (Baba, 2002). Thus, in Islam, personality can be developed through spiritual training (tarbiyyah ruhiyyah) and intellectual training (tarbiyah fikriyyah) (Mahmud, 2000).

This study focuses on the development of soft skills and personality through co-curricular activities in the Islamic context at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). IIUM is a university having its vision and mission based on the Islamic principle of the unity of God (TawhÊd). It aims at assisting the students towards achieving the ideal Islamic personality (al-InsÉn al-KÉmil), balanced and

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equipped with the knowledge of the world and revealed knowledge as stated in its vision and mission:

Mission of IIUM

Toward actualizing the university’s vision, IIUM endeavors:

To undertake the special and greatly needed task of reforming the contemporary Muslim mentality and integrating Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences in a positive manner.

To produce better quality intellectuals, professionals and scholars by integrating the qualities of faith (imÉn), knowledge (‘ilm), and, and good character (akhlÉq) to serve as agents of comprehensive and balanced progress as well as sustainable development in Malaysia and in the Muslim world.

To foster the Islamization of the ethics of Muslim academic and administrative staff of IIUM, and certain aspects of human knowledge- particularly in the social sciences and humanities with the view to making them more useful and more relevant to the Muslim ummah.

To nurture the quality of holistic excellence which is imbued with Islamic moral-spiritual values, in the process of learning, teaching, research, consultancy, publication, administration and student life.

To exemplify an international community of dedicated intellectuals, scholars, professionals, officers and workers who are motivated by the Islamic world-view and code of ethics as an integral part of their work culture.

To enhance intercultural understanding and foster civilizational dialogues in Malaysia as well as across communities and nations.

To develop an environment which instills commitment for life-long learning and a deep sense of social responsibility among staff and students.

The summary of the IIUM mission are as follows:

Integration; Islamization; Internationalization; Comprehensive Excellence.

IIUM Vision

Inspired by the worldview of tawhid and the Islamic philosophy of the unity of knowledge as well as its concept of holistic education, the IIUM aims at becoming a leading international centre of educational

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excellence which seeks to restore the dynamic and progressive role of the Muslim ummah in all branches of knowledge for the benefit of all mankind.

Source: IIUM vision and mission Since the Islamization of education plays a significant role in shaping the individual’s personality, IIUM as an Islamic higher learning institution attempts to play its role to shape and mould its students towards Islamic personality, balanced and equipped with revealed knowledge as well as knowledge of the world (acquired knowledge). IIUM students are considered as a young generation that in the future will play their significant role to transform the ummah and society to achieve an excellent civilization.

In order to implement this mission and vision, IIUM has designed two platforms, called an academic programme and a non-academic support programme.

The academic programme concerns the dissemination of knowledge in the classroom, whereas the non-academic support programme focuses on infusing universal ethics, Islamic values and soft skills through credited and non-credited co-curricular activities.

As stated in the Student’s Handbook for Co-curricular Activities (2006), co- curricular activities at IIUM consists of a set of programmes and packages which involve spiritual enhancement, intellectual enlightenment, moral education and well- rounded skills-oriented learning. It is not only meant to complement the academic programme but also to ensure the inculcation of an integrated personality and well- rounded set of skills and experiences. Thus, the co-curricular activity programme at IIUM is designed based on the IIUM vision and mission which aims to produce wholesome intellectuals, professionals and scholars capable of integrating the qualities of faith (imÉn), knowledge (’ilm) and good character (akhlÉq) to serve as agents of a

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comprehensive and balanced progress as well as sustainable development all over the world.

As a vehicle and means for shaping students’ personalities, the co-curricular activities are designed to serve the following goals:

i. Developing students’ balanced vision of life, as responsible vicegerents of God who are entrusted with the mission of building civilization and disseminating the values of unity, trustworthiness, justice, tolerance, freedom, equality and protection of humanity.

ii. Formulating students’ integrated personality focusing more on strengthening the spiritual, intellectual, physical, moral, ethical, social and cultural dimensions.

iii. Assisting students to develop a sense of teamwork and love for exchange and sharing of knowledge, ideas, experiences and wisdom in different matters.

iv. Assisting students to develop a sense of serving others and go global in their relation with other cultures and civilizations.

v. Assisting students to discover their talents, potentials, abilities so that they can develop and excel in their life and career pursuits.

vi. Assisting students to learn objective thinking, planning, management, evaluation and proper judgment in different situations.

vii. Providing students with practical opportunities, trainings and down to earth oriented programmes, so that they can apply and challenge their theoretical knowledge to practical realities.

viii. Preparing students for further challenges, task and handling of responsibilities.

ix. Helping students to strengthen their self-reliance, self- confidence and self-empowerment skills.

x. Teaching students to honor the diversity of culture and religions and build bridges with others through community services and humanity-serving programmes.

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xi. Assisting students to learn the values of disagreement, the principles of fruitful dialogue and ways of solving problem properly.

xii. Developing inter-cultural and inter-personal communication skills and techniques.

xiii. Promoting discipline, time management, consultation and responsibility.

(Source: IIUM Student’s handbook for co-curricular activities, 2006, pp. 16-17).

The advantages and benefits of students’ involvement in co-curricular activities could be perceived from the fact that it provides opportunities for students to see and appreciate the practical aspect of knowledge with the development of a good self-concept and a positive attitude. These objectives also demonstrate that the co- curricular programme is considered as a vehicle for personality, intellectual, social, and cultural growth enhancing integrated and holistic development of the individual.

To recapitulate, many studies have revealed that co-curricular activities in the higher learning institution have important contribution for soft skills and personality development in general context (Abdul Malek Abdul Karim et al., 2012; Rosli Saadan, 2011 ; Devadeson et al., 2010; Ahmad Essa et al., 2009; Aminuddin Baki et al., 2008; and Sulayman Yassin et al., 2008). This study focuses on the co-curricular activities in the Islamic context at IIUM which aimed to develop students’

personalities which focuses on numerous positive personality traits enhancement and life skills (soft skills) including social skills, integrity, self-accountability, discipline, self-reliance, communication skills and entrepreneurship skill which attempt to recapture the essence of the prophetic style of tarbiyyah (education) to equip the students with the best education in accordance to Islam that enable them to revive the ummatic civilization in the future and fully understand their role as servants of God

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(‘ibÉdullah) and vicegerent of God (khalifatullah) in pursuing noble goals of life (islÉh), right knowledge (ma’rifah), and useful development for the benefit of all mankind.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

For the past few decades, the issues on unemployed graduates have been seriously discussed. Recent studies (Noor Azina Ismail, 2011 ; Rahmah, 2011 ; Zaliza Hanapi &

Mohd Safarin Nordin, 2013 ; and Mohamad Idham Md. Razak et al., 2014 ) have discussed in length the issues on the importance of soft skills and how they impacted graduates and their employability.

The increasing number of unemployed graduates is an important issue facing in many developing countries. In Malaysia for example, according to the statistics of graduates in the labor force Malaysia (2011) as cited in Mohamad Idham Md Razak et al. (2014), the number of unemployed graduates increased since 2007 from 53,500 to 65,500 unemployed graduates. Addressing the issues of unemployed graduates in Malaysia, Rahmah (2011) asserted that the cardinal cause of unemployed graduates is lack of soft skills among graduates, making them less competent in the job market competition. Thus, it was suggested to build a collaborative approach between the university and industry to overcome the problem of unemployed university graduates by focusing more of the development of students’ soft skills during university life as a part of industry’s corporate social responsibility (Aminuddin Baki et. al., 2008).

In a study conducted by Mohamad Idham Md Razak et al. (2014), employability skills is regarded as one significance factor that influence unemployment among graduates in Malaysia. Similarly, Noor Azina Ismail (2011) postulated that the employment prospects of graduates who possess leadership and

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