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Exploring the Religious Education System in Indonesia - A Field Visit

As part of the celebration of Ramadhan, the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS) facilitated a field visit to Pesantren Krapyak near Jogjakarta, Indonesia. A Pesantren is an Islamic boarding school where santri (students) learn the Koran, religious philosophies, traditions of exegesis, law, etc. and is a mainstay of the Indonesian religious education system. Pesantren that provide housing or dormitory at low or no cost for santri are led by religious leaders known as Kyai. The Kyai is respected teachers who play important roles in the Pesantren and its surrounding area.

The visit allowed five U.S. scholars and twenty-five Indonesian scholars to visit the boarding school in order to better understand Islam, especially in regard to the Religious Education System in Indonesia. Visitors viewed the Mosque, dormitory, and classrooms as well as meeting with students. Pesantren staff also explained the history of the school and its educational focus. Finally, a discussion was held with Pesantren alumni Sahiron Syamsuddin, MA and currently a professor at Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijago in Jogjakarta.

Participants meet with Pesantren students, who showed them the school's dormitory, classrooms, and Mosque.

AIFIS staff member Faishol Abid (second from right) accompanies US scholars to an Islamic boarding school near Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

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