Pesantren playing significant role in national development: Mulyani

Pesantren playing significant role in national development: Mulyani

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said Indonesia’s 28,194 pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), which cater to 18 million students, are playing a significant, strategic, and unique role in the development of the state and society.

“This huge number (of Islamic schools) plays a very important, strategic, and unique role in the development of the country and society,” Mulyani said during an online event held to commemorate National Santri (Islamic school students) Day, here on Thursday.

The government is, therefore, continuing to support Islamic boarding schools so that they can contribute to improving welfare and empowering the Indonesian people, she noted.

The government's support for pesantren includes access to finance for students to operate productive businesses through the People's Business Credit (KUR) scheme.

“We hope that the students can use it to finance productive businesses by accessing KUR financing at the nearest (bank) branch offices, including those serving sharia,” said Mulyani.

In addition, the government is also providing access to ultra-micro scale businesses through the Ultra Micro Financing Program (UMi) for santri who are unable to obtain financing through KUR.

Under the UMi Financing Program, as of October 20, 2020, assistance had been distributed to 3.3 million recipients, of which 565 thousand were MSMEs, through sharia contracts, Mulyani said.

Islamic boarding schools can also work with OJK (the Financial Services Authority) and Laznas (National Alms Agency) to establish micro waqf banks so that they are able to further empower the communities around the pesantren, she added.

Based on data provided by the OJK, as of September 9, 2020, the cumulative financing channeled by micro waqf banks has reached Rp48 billion.

Furthermore, the government is continuing to explore the potential of santri based on small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives in the palm oil industry, she remarked.

In this case, the Ministry of Finance, through the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS) and other ministries /institutions (K/L), has from October 1, 2020 begun developing the potential of palm oil-based santripreneurs.

Mulyani continued that the government has also increased the capacity and role of the students through investment in education, namely by instituting an LPDP scholarship fund.

As of last year, a total of 293 Islamic school students have been sent to countries such as Australia, the UK, Canada, Sweden, and the United States to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees.

“Apart from studying at universities in Indonesia, they are also studying in Australia, England, Canada, Sweden, and the United States," she informed. 

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