ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Sulu provincial government is sending six Muslim students to the United States (US) under the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program.
Jainab Abdulmajid, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the recipients of the program are all high school students chosen from among the hundreds of applicants who went through rigid regional and national screening conducted by the American Field Study Program Management Staff.
The students – Fatimatuzzahra Abdulmajid, Firash Zyed Ututalum, Jianazen Hapas, Khaizer Jawari from the Sulu State College Laboratory High School, and Aisa Dammang and Ahda Sangkula from the Notre Dame of Jolo for Girls—passed the written and oral interviews, including a battery of psychological examinations, the spokesman said.
She said Sulu Governor Totoh Tan praised the students for passing the examinations. The students met Tan during a courtesy call and were impressed by the youth, vigor and idealism of the young politician, who also wished them the best in their journey and offered prayers for their successes.
Abdulmajid said Tan assured the students of his unwavering support to better the quality of education in Sulu.
“I am very much aware that education is a priority area in the development of the quality of our human capital in Sulu. Fatima, Firash, Jianazen, Khaizer, Aisa and Ahda are role models of today’s Tausug youth,” Tan was quoted as saying.
“The opportunity of education and experience awarded to these students was earned thru exemplary performance and hard work. This is the kind of mindset and level of quality of human resources that we should be aiming for. Parents, teachers, students, all of us, must realize that education gives us a chance to be better individuals, better parents and better Tausugs, essential in moulding a better future for the province of Sulu.”
Tan is shouldering the allowances of the students, who will stay with their respective host family and hosted in different US states.
The program aims to promote mutual cultural understanding between Americans and Filipino Muslims and the students are expected to share their culture with their host parents, school, state and country while also learning the American culture.
The students, upon their return are expected to voluntarily and actively get involved with the affairs and programs of their community and share their learning to their peers.
The Sulu State College Laboratory High School has been sending students under the Kennedy–Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program since 2009. Besides the US, it has sent a number of students to Japan and each one of them becoming ambassadors of their province and country and bringing back with them wonderful experiences, broader understanding, deeper appreciation of their own and other foreign cultures, and develop their leadership and social skills.