SINGAPORE - A 60-year-old madrasah in Sims Avenue whose lease will run out in about a month has received a $7.5 million lifeline to extend its lease for 30 years.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) is providing Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah these funds under the Comprehensive Assistance Package to preserve the legacy of the school and strengthen its management and leadership team.
The deal was signed at the madrasah on Saturday (April 28), witnessed by Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim.
At the debate on his ministry's budget in Parliament last month, Dr Yaacob said the provision of such funding signals Muis' ongoing commitment to further professionalise and strengthen the madrasah sector as a whole.
There are six full-time madrasahs in Singapore, offering their students both religious and secular subjects.
Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah started its first religious classes in 1958 in a kampung house in Paya Lebar.
It later bought a 30-year lease for a new building in Sims Avenue. Its lease will run out in June.
The $7.5 million provided by Muis will allow the madrasah to purchase another 30-year lease.
Today, Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah has about 500 students in the primary, secondary and pre-university levels. The school offers its students O-level and A-level certification, as well as a religious studies certificate.
Said Mr Ambiah Katama, co-chairman of Madrasah Wak Tanjong management committee: "A review of staff salaries will be undertaken to improve the remuneration of teachers. A structured training and professional development framework for staff will also be developed."
Besides offering funding for infrastructure and professional development of leaders in Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah, Muis gave the other schools various forms of support last year.
For instance, Madrasah Aljunied will be introducing the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme next year. Its teachers have been trained in the programme and they have gone for study trips to IB schools in Shanghai, Mumbai and Dubai.
Last year, Muis disbursed $1.49 million to secular and religious teachers in all six madrasahs.
It also set aside $10 million for the development of Madrasah Al-Arabiah Al-Islamiah's new building in Toa Payoh which is expected to be ready by next year.