30 Apr 2007

Tonga's Education Minister welcomes idea of Muslim school

6:10 am on 30 April 2007

Tonga's Minister of Education says he would welcome a Muslim boarding-school in the country.

The country's small Muslim community is planning to raise funds in the Middle East to build the country's first Muslim boarding-school.

The architect of the proposal, Sheikh Imam Abdul Kader, says the school would follow the Tongan school curriculum, but would offer Arabic and Islamic Studies as an option for Muslim and non-Muslim children.

The education minister, Dr Tevita Palefau, says the school will have to meet the ministry's education standards and requirements.

Dr Palefau says apart from that, the ministry has no objection to the proposal.

"We are welcoming the possibility for accepting their own school in their own faith. That is the same what the other missions here in Tonga were doing. And from the ministry's point of view, we are working closely with the missions' education departments here in the kingdom, and I believe it would"

be an asset.

Dr Palefau says the school would also be beneficial for non-Muslim children in Tonga.