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Indonesian Islamic Schools Embrace Digital Technology

To improve the quality of learning, including for madrasahs (Islamic schools), Indonesia improves efforts in digital transformation for education. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has made efforts to help madrasahs in Indonesia to adopt digital technology. In 2021, the ministry prepared the Madrasah Affirmation Assistance fund of Rp.399.9 billion implemented through the Realising Education’s Promise Madrasah Education Quality Reform program targeted at 2,666 madrasahs in the country.

Each madrasah under the program received the assistance of Rp.150 million. The assistance was given to madrasahs that had implemented the Madrasah Self Evaluation (EDM) system and the e-RKAM system (Electronic-based Madrasah Work Plan and Budget), which had been introduced in 2020 and began to be applied in 2021. The assistance was given in the form of cash and was expected to be prioritised for the urgent needs of the madrasah.

– M Ali Ramdhani, Director-General of Islamic Education

Director of Madrasah Curriculum, Facilities, Institutions, and Student Affairs M Isom Yusqi added that the assistance was expected to be utilised to strengthen the digitalisation of madrasahs. In addition, the assistance can also be used to improve the quality of sanitation and other program needs in order to support the quality of learning in madrasahs amid the digital era.

The assistance is yet to target all madrasahs in Indonesia due to the ministry’s limited funds. For reporting, he affirmed that the ministry had implemented the e-RKAM system as an e-planning and e-budgeting for madrasahs. Therefore, the accountability of reports regarding the assistance for madrasahs can be guaranteed.

The madrasah digitalisation program had been carried out since 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Indonesia. Several programs had been carried out, including revising the technical guidelines for the utilisation of the school operational assistance (BOS) funds so that they can be used to support the online learning system.

The ministry has also provided assistance in procuring servers and CBT (Computer Based-Test) Computer Networks for all levels of madrasah: Aliyah (senior high school), Tsanawiyah (junior high school), or Ibtidaiyyah (elementary school).

Among others, the assistance is aimed to support the implementation of digital classes. Until 2022 so far, the state madrasah development assistance through SBSN is still ongoing. In the midst of the pandemic, the ministry has also continued to accelerate the digitalisation of madrasahs through several programs, for example, the madrasah digital books program, which let students access free e-books.

Then, the ministry collaborated with four mobile service providers to provide cheap internet plans for teachers, students, and school staff of madrasahs. In addition, the ministry also provided free access to an educational platform that provided the Online New Student Registration Service (PPDB) for all madrasahs throughout Indonesia, as well as initiated a movement to raise donations for students that do not own a gadget for learning.

To expand the digitalisation of madrasahs, the Ministry of Religious Affairs involved several parties, one of which was through the Digital Madrasah Innovation Award. The step is taken in several regions, among others is in West Java, by involving an ed-tech start-up Infradigital and the West Java’s regional office of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. One of the goals of the program is to accelerate and equalise the digitalisation of madrasahs.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Directorate General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology (Ditjen Diktiristek) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbudristek) is working with a tech company to develop Indonesian digital talents in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The cooperation is stated in a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed by both parties through a virtual ceremony. This collaboration is an effort made by the Directorate General of Higher Education to accelerate the growth of AI talent in Indonesia.

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