Konradus Epa, Jakarta
Updated: September 10, 2021 06:51 AM GMT
Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Zainut Tauhid Sa'adi says scholarships for Papuan Christian students will improve education in the region. (Photo: Instagram @zainuttauhidsaadi)
Indonesia's Religious Affairs Ministry has granted scholarships to more than 300 Papuan Christian students to study during the current academic year in universities across the country.
The scholarship scheme aims to improve the educational opportunities of indigenous people.
Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi said scholarships were granted to 330 students from Papua and West Papua provinces for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Of these, 50 students were admitted to Christian private universities while 280 were studying in state Christian institutes spread across the region, including on Java island and Papua.
“The program — We love Papua or Papua is proud — is aimed to increase education and religion in Papua and West Papua provinces by supporting scholarships to the young generation so that they can get a good education,” Sa’adi said.
He said education is for all because it is one of the important pillars in building human resources.
We hope that they study well and can build their region after they finish studies
“The ministry wants to build and realize the dignified Papuan people through religion and education,” Sa’adi added.
To the beneficiary students, he said: “You must become a creative, innovative, productive Christian student who can find solutions, have morality, honesty, integrity, hard work and loyalty to religious values.”
Papuan leader Theo Hesegem said it is the obligation of the government to help its people. The scholarships weren’t meant to serve the political interest but to educate the young generation.
“For me, the program is positive, without discrimination. It should help all students including those from the conflict areas in Papua,” he told UCA news.
Thomas Pentury, head of the Directorate General for Christian Community Guidance, thanked the ministry for caring for the young generation from Papua.
Philip Situmorang, spokesman of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, expressed his support for the government scholarship scheme for Papuan students.
“We hope that they study well and can build their region after they finish studies,” he told UCA News.
Their presence, he said, can strengthen local religious leaders such as reverends and priests to serve Papuan people.