Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas expressed hope that dhammasekhas (Buddhist schools) would emerge as prominent educational institutions in Indonesia, much like State Islamic Senior High School Insan Cendekia (MAN IC) in South Tangerang, Banten.

"Dhammasekhas should be able to be on par with MAN IC, which is the best senior high school. I would like to see a Buddhist school to emerge as the best school, akin to MAN IC," he remarked during the inauguration of a dhammasekha in Jakarta on Friday.

The Higher Education Entrance Test Administrator (LTMPT) earlier issued the list of the best one thousand schools in Indonesia, with MAN IC claiming the top spot. MAN IC ranked first in terms of the national average scores in the Computer-Based Exam for State University Entrance (UTBK-SBMPTN) in 2022.

Minister Qoumas affirmed that under his leadership, the Religious Affairs Ministry had placed educational services as one of its priorities apart from religious affairs. The Religious Affairs Ministry has been paying close attention to education, he remarked.

He noted that as many as 22 dhammasekhas have been established since he took office as the religious affairs minister, thereby bringing the number of Buddhist schools in Indonesia to 43.

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The 43 dhammasekhas scattered across Indonesia belong to four levels of education, namely nava dhammasekha (early childhood education), mula dhammasekha (elementary school), muda dhammasekha (junior high school), and uttama dhammasekha (vocational high school).

"It is necessary to take affirmative actions to allow dhammasekhas to make progress," Qoumas noted.

He then instructed the ministry's Directorate General of Buddhist Community Guidance to pay attention to all 43 dhammasekhas, regardless of their status as public schools or private schools while noting that the involvement of private actors in establishing schools is important.

"We should pay attention not only to those managed by the government but also those owned by private actors. It is crucial to show genuine care for private dhammasekhas by taking affirmative actions and providing them with opportunities to develop," he remarked.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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