"This is a concrete step to follow up on the agreement made by Muhammadiyah to settle conflicts in Thailand`s southern region in cooperation with the Indonesian government," Rector of Hamka University, Prof Dr Suyatno, said on the sidelines of an international communications seminar here on Tuesday.
This year, the total number of applicants from Patani and Yala had reached 119, but only 71 were selected on June 22 by a team from Muhammadiyah`s High Learning Education Council, he said.
The scholarship recipients will be placed at Muhammadiyah universities throughout the country, such as Uhamka, UMM, UMS, UMY, UAD, UMSU, Unmuh Makassar, UM Palembang, UM Purwokerto, UM Surabaya, UMJember and UMJ.
The scholarship program began in 2009 under which Uhamka accommodated five students in 2009, another five in 2010 and six in 2011.
Due to increasing interest of Thai students to pursue higher studies in Indonesia, this year Uhamka increased its budget to accommodate the Thai youths, he pointed out.
"This is a humanitarian mission because Thailand`s southern part is a Muslim region and still backward compared to other regions in that country. It is also a national mission to boost relations between the two countries," he said.
The programs offered are pharmacy, psychology, Islamic education, shariah banking, informatics, Indonesian language, English language and economics.
Before studying in Indonesia, these students will undergo a pre-departure program, studying Indonesian language and culture, as well as science, in anticipation of a possible cooperation with Islamic University of Yala and Prince of Songkla University.