Australian Ambassador opens Islamic Schools
JAKARTA ~ The Australian ambassador to Indonesia opened 46 Islamic schools built with Australian funding at a ceremony in East Java on Wednesday, an embassy spokesman said.
Ambassador Bill Farmer attended the event with Minister of Religious Affairs Muhammad M. Basyuni at Lumajang in East Java, a traditional Islamic stronghold.
The funding for the religious schools, known as madrassahs, is part of a US$25-million package from the Australian government for education facilities in 20 Indonesian provinces. According to Farmer, 2000 schools will be built by 2009.
â€œOf those 2000 schools, 500 will be madrassahs, which demonstrates clearly the importance of Islamic schools to the Indonesian education system, and Australiaâ€™s understanding of their role in educating Indonesiaâ€™s children,â€ he said in a statement received by The Bali Times.
The project will create more than 330,000 new school places for 13- to 15-year-olds, according to officials, with development focused on poor and remote areas.Filed under: The Nation