Dr. Zaid Abidin Bagir, Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural studies at Gajah Made University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, delivered a lecture at IIIT headquarters on Thursday April 3, 2008. The lecture was on the transformation of Islamic State Universities in Indonesia.
He explained the essential problem facing Islamic State Universities in two, inter-related terms: first, a dichotomy of religious vs non-religious sciences; second, a dualism in the educational system in Indonesia through the administration of religious education under the Ministry of Religious Affairs and general education under teh Ministry of Education. This dualism, he maintained, has its roots in the early (colonial) history of modern Indonesia. He explained and analyzed the current transformation and teh efforts towards integration of the two systems and overcoming the dichotomy of the religious and non-religious sciences.
Dr. Bagir posed some key questions such as: should the non-religious be offered in some different way from the way they are taught and developed in the secular (non-religious) universities? And if yes, how?
Another key question raised was: Could there be some "Islamic identity" of the Islamic University that distinguished it from the secular universities? Further, should the distinctions be reflected in the disciplines taught and developed in the Islamic universities? Finally, how is the global Muslim discourse on the "Islamization of Knowledge" and "Islamic science" plays its role in the debate about the transformation?
In response to these questions, Professor Zaid Abidin examined the experiments of teh IAIN (Indonesian State Institute of Islamic Studies) and how these UINs (State Islamic Universities) in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Malang States attempted to answer these questions.