Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Religious Affairs has readied assistance worth Rp13.2 billion (around US$863.3 thousand) for madrasahs (Islamic schools) affected by the earthquake that struck Cianjur, West Java, in November last year.

"The Rp13.2-billion fund will be distributed to 64 madrasahs," the ministry's Director General of Islamic Education M. Ali Ramdhani stated here on Thursday.

According to Ramdhani, the 64 madrasahs comprised 15 units of Raudlatul Athfal (early childhood education level), 21 units of Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (elementary school level), 22 units of Madrasah Tsanawiyah (junior high school level), and six units of Madrasah Aliyah (high school level).

Ramdhani stated that the assistance is sourced from the fund of the Realizing Education's Promise-Madrasah Education Quality Reform (REP-MEQR) program, or what is more known as the Madrasah Reform program.

He assessed that the assistance reflects the ministry's care for madrasahs affected by the earthquake, so that they will be able to provide educational services soon.

Meanwhile, the ministry's Director of Madrasah Curriculum, Facilities, Institution, and Student Affairs, Moh. Ishom, stated that the assistance to be given varies and is adjusted to the damages incurred in the buildings of each school.

According to Ishom, construction experts from the World Bank and the Ministry of Religious Affairs have conducted a survey, data collection, and assessment on all prospective beneficiary madrasahs.

"What is certain is, the beneficiary madrasahs are officially registered in the ministry as educational institutions and are included in the ministry's EMIS (Education Management Information System) data," he explained.

Chairperson of the Project Management Unit (PMU) for the realization of REP-MEQR Abdul Rouf stated that the disbursement process would be conducted by banks that have cooperated with the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

He further remarked that the prospective beneficiary madrasahs had received technical guidance regarding utilization of the assistance fund.

Rouf also stressed that during the disbursement process, there were no cuts in the funding.

"If there are parties that make unlawful deductions, please report (them) to the Ministry of Religious Affairs," he stated.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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