| Syazwani Hj Rosli |
HER Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah yesterday attended the foundation-laying ceremony for the $46.8 million Katok Arabic School, which is scheduled for completion in September 2016.
Minister of Religious Affairs Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman welcomed Her Royal Highness upon arrival at the ceremony.
The ceremony opened with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah led by Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Awang Haji Salim bin Haji Besar, following which welcoming remarks were delivered by the minister.
The minister said it was the late Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam’s wish to see Arabic schools produce scholars capable of handling major responsibilities in the face of challenges, and contributing their efforts and imparting religious knowledge onto the younger generation.
Statistics show that enrolment of female students into Arabic schools has climbed significantly from 61 students in 1967 to 424 students in 2015. The total number of girls enrolled into Arabic schools stands at 6,211.
The new school will cater specifically to female students and will be able to accommodate 1,800 students. The new 72-classroom facility will span over an area of 20 hectares and support the demand for other teaching and learning facilities, including Administrative Rooms, Teachers Room, Laboratories, Special Room, Libraries, Conference Room, Meeting Room, Surau, Multipurpose Hall, Dining Hall, a cafeteria and kitchen.
The minister later expressed hopes the school, when completed, would be able to generate more Muslim women scholars.
Following the speech was a brief video presentation on the construction project of the Katok Arabic School.
The day also saw Her Royal Highness touring a mini exhibition of the new school and signing the foundation-laying plaque.
A Doa Selamat marked the end of the ceremony.