Academic performance of madrasah students has improved: Yaacob

Ms Nurhidayah Mohamad Ismail (right), principal of Genius Young Minds, showing Naily Afiqah Zailanio, a student from Irsyad Zuhri Madrasah, how to use the 'fraction board' so that she can see and understand the concept of fractions better. -- BH PHOT
Ms Nurhidayah Mohamad Ismail (right), principal of Genius Young Minds, showing Naily Afiqah Zailanio, a student from Irsyad Zuhri Madrasah, how to use the 'fraction board' so that she can see and understand the concept of fractions better. -- BH PHOTO: MOHD TAUFIK A KADER 

SINGAPORE - The academic performance of students enrolled in madrasahs, or Islamic religious schools here, has improved over the years, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said at an award ceremony held by the Islamic Religious Council (Muis) on Saturday.

Speaking at the disbursement ceremony of the Progress Fund Madrasah Assistance Scheme (Promas) at Madrasah Wak Tanjong at Sims Avenue, Dr Yaacob noted that the madrasah's top Primary 6 pupil last year scored a record aggregate of 269 for the Primary School Leaving Examinations.

More madrasah students are also eligible for the Express stream at the Secondary level, he said. Last year, 61.7 per cent of the cohort made it to the Express stream - a 16 per cent increase compared to the year before.

"Our efforts to provide quality madrasah education are bearing fruit," said Dr Yaacob, who is also the Communications and Information Minister.

Promas, modelled after the Education Ministry's financial assistance scheme, aims to provide assistance packages that cover a student's school fees and daily expenses, to disadvantaged students in the madrasahs.

Students who are on the scheme and have done well academically at the Secondary and pre-university level may be given an additional performance award of up to $2,785 annually.

Dr Yaacob handed out the performance awards to 48 recipients yesterday, up from 26 last year.

Muis will extend a total of $360,000 to the Promas fund for students in the six full-time madrasahs this year, said Dr Yaacob.

This brings the total amount that Muis has disbursed to Promas between 2010 and 2015 to $2.3 million.

Last year, a total of 361 students benefited from the assistance scheme.