SINGAPORE - The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will set aside $2 million this year to get more young Muslims to participate in religious education.
It is the largest annual amount earmarked under the Islamic Education Fund scheme, which was introduced in 2004. The scheme provides subsidies for needy students, with the aim to widen outreach to young Muslims.
Last year, more than $760,000 went into subsidising the fees of religious classes for over 2,000 students attending mosque madrasahs.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, announced the $2 million fund at Muis' annual workplan seminar held on its Braddell Road premises last Saturday.
He said there is room to help mosques and non-profit organisations that provide Islamic education to conduct religious classes during non-peak periods, such as weekday nights.
Currently, classes are held mainly on weekends and may clash with other activities. This prevents some young Muslims from attending them, he added.
Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, noted that more than half of Singaporean Muslims aged between seven and 16 do not attend structured religious classes.
He said: "We hope that in the next few years, we will see an increased participation of the young in Islamic education from 40 per cent to at least 60 per cent."
There are currently about 34,000 students who take religious classes through Muis in mosques and the private sector.
Resources will be channelled to fund "quality and educational" materials and programmes at madrasahs, and more teacher training programmes will be organised, Dr Yaacob said.
He added that highly qualified educators will also be recruited to complement the existing teaching force.
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