Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government will allocate Rp250 billion (around US$16.24 million) for improving the quality of human resources (HR) in pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) this year.

The funds will be prepared through the Pesantren Endowment Fund sourced from the Education Endowment Fund.

The allocation was discussed at a coordination meeting on the acceleration of Pesantren Endowment Fund utilization between the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Education Fund Management Institution (LPDP) of the Finance Ministry here on Tuesday.

"The pesantren community has been waiting for when the Pesantren Endowment Fund will be realized," secretary general of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Nizar Ali, said here on Tuesday.

According to Ali, the endowment fund is a mandate of Law Number 18 of 2019 on Pesantren and Presidential Regulation Number 82 of 2021 on funding for pesantren management.

Meanwhile, director general of Islamic education at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Muhammad Ali Ramdhani, informed that the 2023 Pesantren Endowment Fund will be fully allocated for degree and non-degree scholarships for the pesantren community.

The scholarships will cover the bachelor's degree program, master's degree program, and doctoral degree program, both within the country and overseas.

Ramdhani emphasized that the Pesantren Endowment Fund is sourced from the Education Endowment Fund and therefore, it is only to be used for educational purposes.

The endowment fund cannot be used for other purposes, such as dakwah (Islamic preaching) and community empowerment, which are pesantrens’ other functions besides education.

“(The use of the fund) Even for implementation or management support is not allowed because that is just how the regulation is," he said.

The director of scholarships at LPDP, Dwi Sularso, welcomed and expressed support for the acceleration of the utilization of the endowment fund.

Teams from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and LPDP will discuss the technical steps, especially the necessary documentation, so that scholarships for the pesantren community can be opened soon in 2023.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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