Tue, 15 Aug 2000

UAI opens its doors to prospective students

JAKARTA (JP): The Al-Azhar Islamic School Foundation's newly- founded University of Al-Azhar Indonesia (UAI) is opening its doors to prospective students, regardless of their religion, a foundation executive said on Monday.

Chairman of the foundation Moeslim Aboud Ma'ani said at its headquarters on Jl. Sisingamangaraja in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, that registration for the current academic year started on Aug. 8.

"Lectures will hopefully begin on Sept. 23," he said.

The first batch of UAI students will temporarily use part of the eight-floor building currently used by Al-Azhar kindergarten to high school students in the 4.7-hectare Kebayoran Baru complex, Moeslim said.

A separate UAI building, financed with an investment of some Rp 17 billion (US$2 million) is to be constructed at the complex on a two-hectare plot near the Al-Azhar mosque. It is expected to be completed in 2002, he added.

Al-Hazar's Kebayoran Baru complex is home to a kindergarten and an elementary, junior and senior high school. They attract thousands of children, mostly from wealthy families who can afford to pay the high school fees.

The new university's rector is former state minister of research and technology Zuhal.

It has six schools, namely engineering, maths and sciences, economics, education, literature and religious studies.

Moeslim estimated that UAI would be able to accept at least 2,000 of the students who graduate from the five Al-Azhar senior high schools yearly.

The foundation runs 63 schools, including 24 kindergartens, 23 elementary schools, and 11 junior high schools, spread over the provinces of Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java and West Kalimantan.

Zuhal said that UAI students have to pay Rp 2 million for admission, Rp 1.5 million for tuition per semester and Rp 40,000 for each credit unit taken.

He said tuition fees at the university were much lower than the Rp 7 million paid by parents of children at the Al-Azhar kindergarten.

English and Arabic will be the medium for all subjects from the second year, he said.

Compulsory English and Arabic classes taken by first-year students will be taught by native speakers.

Syofyan Saad, chairman of the university's founding team, said that like other Al-Azhar schools, the university would be open to non-Muslims.

"UAI also provides scholarships for students willing to learn sciences, which have so far been neglected by the government," Syofyan said.

The new university has nothing to do with Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

"Our relationship with it is solely spiritual. But anyway, we've informed it about possible cooperation," Moeslim said.

The money for the construction of the UAI campus has come from local and overseas donators, he said. (01)