SINGAPORE - About 3,500 madrasah students will benefit from a special Covid-19 disbursement of $500,000 from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) to the six full-time Islamic religious schools.
This one-off disbursement, in view of the challenges faced by the madrasah sector during the pandemic, will go towards supporting their student programmes, said Muis on Monday (Dec 28).
The six madrasahs are: Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah ($76,459), Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah ($41,246), Madrasah Al-Arabiah Al-Islamiah ($43,490), Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah ($167,649), Madrasah Al-Ma'arif Al-Islamiah ($96,240) and Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah ($74,916).
This one-off support will be used for student programmes based on each school's needs, with the quantum based on the enrolment size.
Madrasahs, which are private schools, rely heavily on the support of the community, said Muis.
They are supported through school fees and grants from various sources such as the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF) as well as government funding.
These funds mostly go towards manpower and training expenses.
Madrasahs also regularly undertake fund-raising to supplement the shortfall for the school operational and student programme needs.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, several external fund-raising events had to be suspended or cancelled.
It was also more difficult for donors to make donations physically.
This resulted in a substantial shortfall in revenue from typical fund-raising sources and donation drives, such as collections during Friday congregational prayers, Muis said.
In addition, the implementation of safe management measures at the madrasahs has increased their operational costs.
Muis had thus earlier worked with the madrasahs to develop and launch the OurMadrasah.sg portal on Dec 4 to raise funds. Over the last few weeks, about $50,000 had been raised through online donations.
Calling madrasahs key institutions for the Muslim community, Muis chief executive Esa Masood said: "Our madrasah leaders, teachers and students have adapted well to the challenging situation over the past year and have continued to perform well.
"This disbursement signifies Muis' continued support for our madrasahs. We urge the community to rally together and continue to stand in solidarity with our madrasahs so that they can continue the important work to nurture the next generation of asatizah (religious teachers) to guide our community."