Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Directorate General of Islamic Education at Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs held a meeting with a delegation from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University here on Tuesday (June 21), discussing extension of the equalization system for prospective Indonesian students who wish to study at the world’s oldest higher education institution.
Al-Azhar’s advisor for academic affairs Abdel Dayem Nosser stated that Indonesia has long close relations with Egypt, according to a written statement from the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs received here on Wednesday.
There are hundreds of thousands of Islamic schools in Indonesia, Nosser said, adding that it indicates that Islam has been spreading well in the archipelagic country, and he hoped that these Islamic schools would produce competent Muslim scholars in various scientific fields.
Al-Azhar University in Cairo is one of the campuses in the Middle East that has long been the main interest of Indonesian students. So far, Al-Azhar has accepted prospective students from outside Egypt after they have passed through the equalization process.
Indeed, Al-Azhar has an equalization system that can be applied to schools outside Egypt, so that their alumni can continue their studies at Al-Azhar University, Nosser said.
However, in practice, a number of violations were found. There are equalization documents that are made up and falsified, so they must be renewed.
Nosser pointed out that there is an educational institution that apply for equalization with a fake stamp on paper, but in reality the school does not exist.
Seeing the high interest of Indonesian students to Al-Azhar, the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs expected that the cooperation on the equalization process would be agreed soon.
“The equalization process for Islamic education institutions in Indonesia will be provided after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is signed by the parties. After this meeting, in the near future the Indonesian Director General of Islamic Education will visit Al-Azhar to finalize the MoU,” Director for Islamic Curriculum, Facilities, Institutions, and Student Affairs, M Isom Yusqi, said.
He explained, among other things, the MoU regulates tests for prospective students before they leave for Egypt which are organized by institutions in Indonesia appointed by Al-Azhar in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.
According to Isom, this collaboration allows sending new students from Indonesia through one door, namely the Ministry of Religious Affairs. This system is also expected to maintain the quality and capacity of prospective students and prevent attempts to send prospective students illegally.
Reporting by Indonesia Window