Jakarta – As the COVID-19 situation continues to improve in the country, the Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII) is set to begin holding in-person classes for students, including all international students who arrived on campus in recent weeks.
The newly inaugurated university was scheduled to run in-person classes for the first semester in September last year, but the move was canceled following a COVID-19 surge. The offline classes for the second semester will start on March 7.
"The leadership of UIII has taken everything into consideration [before deciding to hold offline classes] including the improvement in the COVID situation," UIII deputy rector Bahrul Hayat said in a statement.
Some classes, especially those taught by professors currently residing outside of Indonesia, would continue to be held online until there was a new arrangement, Bahrul said.
As for international students, who have been arriving in the country since Feb. 27, they have taken PCR tests and are now undergoing quarantine in government-appointed hotels and facilities. The international students, who hail from countries as far away as Egypt, are on full scholarships funded by the university.
Some of these international students, who completed their mandatory quarantine period, have begun to move in to the dorms set up by the UIII inside the campus in Depok, West Java.
One of the students, Esra Ahmed Abdulhalim, said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the campus, built in a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Jakarta.
"It would be great if there were tuk-tuks around campus," Abdulhalim said.
UIII rector Komaruddin Hidayat said that after a semester of online classes, he was optimistic that students could get more benefit from offline classes.
"I welcome all students who came in from the country's multiple cities as well as those who came from abroad. Let us build a more optimistic future from now on," he said.
UIII has welcomed a total of 98 students for its maiden academic year, all on scholarships who were selected from a pool of over 1,000 applicants from 59 countries. It has opened just a handful of academic departments in its inaugural year: Islamic studies, political science, Islamic economics and education sciences.
Located on a 142-hectare plot in Depok, a city that was previously considered among the most intolerant in the country, the new campus has a futuristic design to reflect the progressive, moderate Islam that has flourished in Indonesia.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo included UIII among his administration's strategic national infrastructure projects for education, mandated in a presidential regulation he signed in 2016.