27 December 2011

Education Opportunities for Muslim Youths

Muslim Students
South African activist and later President Nelson Mandela once said in a public forum that "Education is the great engine to personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that the child of a farm worker can become the president of a great nation."

The truth in the statement of Mandela is not lost among the country’s new leaders and it could have been those words that inspired the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to create a new committee on scholarship program. The body was tasked to provide the Muslim youth opportunities to study in major schools and universities in the National Capital Region (NCR).

NCMF Secretary Bai Omera Dianalan-Lucman and Executive Director Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman signed the order creating the committee composed of key NCMF officials, instructing the committee to immediately convene, review and study the NCMF scholarship program.

Among the major schools that responded to the program is Ateneo de Manila University, one of the top schools in the country with no less than President Aquino as one of its alumni. President Aquino spoke during one of the commencement exercises of ADMU.

Despite the limited budget and meager resources, Lucman pursued the scholarship program believing that education is one of the keys for Muslim communities to develop.

"Social mobility and career growth is dependent upon the education of the youth, hence the NCMF will aggressively promote and widen the beneficiaries of the program," Hataman said.

"I am calling on all Muslim professionals to support this scholarship program and help in making it one of the institutional programs of the NCMF for years to come," Director Datu-Ramos added.

The initiative is consistent with the existing Road Map for Upgrading Muslim Basic Education, a comprehensive program for the educational development of Filipino Muslims. The Road map specifically espouses the following principles:
  • That Muslims, like all other Filipino citizens, shall have intellectual and educational capacity to participate actively in the social, economic and political endeavors of the country. A progressive Muslim will be a peace-loving and patriotic Filipino citizen who is able to compete in the job market locally and globally to upgrade his/her quality of life.
  • That Muslims as Filipino citizens shall advance their educational status, from which the Philippine nation shall obtain political and economic gains and benefits that will ensure a steady flow of investment, not only in Mindanao but in the whole country.
  • That Muslims as Filipino citizens shall ensure sustained and permanent peace through access to Islamic-friendly educational curriculum and quality basic education comparable to the rest of the Filipino people.
  • That there shall be a strengthening of the present Madrasah educational system as vital component of the national education system.
  • That the peace process shall be enhanced when Filipino Muslims are educated in Islamic-friendly quality basic education which will contribute to the eradication of separatist sentiments in the minds of present and future generations of Filipino Muslims.