Project Planned to Develop Madrasah Education in Indonesia

News Release | 16 May 2005

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (16 May 2005) - ADB will prepare a project to improve madrasah education in Indonesia to help boost the quality and national coverage of the country's basic education, through a technical assistance (TA) grant package of US$1.2 million cofinanced by the Government of Australia.

Indonesia's 38,500 madrasah provide schooling to 5.7 million students, or 13% of all students, more than half of which are children of farmers and laborers. Just over half of madrasah students are girls.

The most significant contribution of madrasah to the national education system is at the junior secondary level, where they enroll 21% of all students.

Madrasah contribute significantly to the Government's efforts to achieve universal 9-year basic education because they serve the poor, are inexpensive, and operate in rural and isolated areas that offer few other educational opportunities.

"The resources of the madrasah system could be harnessed more effectively than at present in national efforts to expand access to basic and senior secondary education among girls, hard-to-reach groups, and in rural areas," says Wendy Duncan, an ADB Education Specialist.

The TA will therefore design a project that will

  • Improve the quality of education in madrasah through better teaching and learning resources and better trained teachers;
  • Improve social equity by providing financial and academic support to disadvantaged children, extending access, and establishing madrasah health clinics;
  • Improve the management and financial sustainability of madrasah.

While the Government has made good progress in achieving high national gross participation rates in basic education, raising enrollment in rural areas and among hard-to-reach groups has proven difficult.

Having achieved 100% gross participation in primary education, Government policy now focuses on increasing participation in junior secondary education from 81% to 95%.

ADB has assisted madrasah education since the mid-1990s, mainly through two projects aimed at improving the quality and management of public madrasah education and integrating it into the national education system. ADB has also assisted public and private madrasah education through two other projects that followed a system-wide approach by strengthening local education systems, of which madrasah are a part.

The Government will contribute $300,000 toward the TA's total cost of $1.5 million equivalent. The Government of Australia will cofinance $600,000 of the TA's cost, with ADB providing the remaining $600,000.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs' Directorate General of Islamic Institutions is the executing agency for the TA, which is due for completion at the end of 2005.