QUEZON CITY – Muslim students will no longer need to go to other countries to pursue Islamic studies once the proposed measure seeking to establish the first Islamic higher education institution in the Philippines is approved.
The Kuliyyah Institution, which will offer both baccalaureate and postgraduate programs, will cater not only to the educational needs of Muslim students but also serve as a hub for research and progressive leadership in the field of Islamic studies.
The establishment of the institution in Buluan, Maguindanao del Sur aims to promote lifelong learning and continuous education for the Bangsamoro people, empowering them with knowledge, values, and competencies beyond regular schooling.
Committee on Basic, Higher, and Technical Education Chair Prof. Eddie Alih said that the establishment of the proposed Bangsamoro Regional Institute for Higher Islamic Studies will not only empower the local Muslim community but also contribute to the cultural and intellectual enrichment of the entire nation.
During a public consultation held in Quezon City on August 7, various stakeholders, including experts and representatives from national government agencies, higher education institutions, Islamic schools, and civil society organizations, actively participated. Their diverse perspectives and valuable insights were instrumental in shaping the bill’s development.
Sheikh Adeeb Masacal, the school general director of Almaarif Educational Center, voiced his full support, acknowledging that the Bangsamoro Parliament’s commitment to emphasizing Islamic studies is a commendable step towards empowering Muslim youth.
Maximo Aljibe, the regional director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), emphasized the importance of a fair and transparent selection process for the governing body of the institute, ensuring that students are equipped with the necessary tools to excel in Islamic studies.
The bill specifies that the Board will be chaired by the Minister of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education, vice chaired by the Director-General for Madaris Education, and members will include representatives from the faculty and Ulama associations.
Prof. Henelito Sevilla Jr., dean and professor from the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines Diliman, proposed expanding the school into a full university by adding new departments, programs, and degree courses.
Stakeholders noted that this initiative provides an opportunity for Muslim youth to balance conventional and Islamic education, providing special attention to the latter.
MP Alih underscored that the institution would be open to enrollment from those outside the Bangsamoro region.
BTA Bill No. 31 aims to repeal the Regional Madrasah Graduate Education Act of 2003, signaling the need for a more comprehensive and progressive approach in line with the evolving landscape of education.
Another round of consultation is scheduled for Thursday, August 10, where stakeholders from the Bangsamoro region and neighboring areas will gather to further contribute their insights on BTA Bill No. 31. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)