Curriculum Drives Intolerance

18 Agustus 2013

Education road map: State Islamic University (UIN) rector Komaruddin Hidayat (from left to right), McKinsey partner Phillia Wibowo, Deputy Education and Culture Minister Musliar Kasim and advisory council member of the Federation of Indonesian Teachers Association (FSGI) Doni Koesoema feature as speakers at a seminar entitled “2014-2019 Education Vision: Road Map and Challenges” in Jakarta on Thursday. (JP/DON)

A group of educators has warned that failings in the country’s education system and curriculum played a role in encouraging violence and intolerance in society, and that unless the next government was able to implement an overhaul, the nation faced a social crisis.

“In the last decade, there has been systemic violence in education policy and praxis that kills pluralism — such as adopting a half-hearted curriculum, school book development that is not in line with the spirit of pluralism, class and cultural bias and education-evaluation policy that defies standardization,” said Doni Koesoema, a teacher and advisory council member of the Federation of Indonesian Teachers Association (FSGI).

Speaking in an education seminar organized by The Jakarta Post on Thursday, Doni also pointed out how education on religion was more focused on conveying dogma and doctrine than the importance of dialogue, mutual help and mutual trust.

“The teaching of religion tends to prioritize ritual and doctrinal aspects, and is much less accomodating to the spirit of dialogue and promoting tolerance among followers of different faiths,” said Doni.

Komarudin Hidayat, rector of the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN), agreed. “Our current education system does not reflect the condition of our nation, which is built upon the principle of multiculturalism,” said Komarudin.

He also emphasized the paramount importance of teachers and cited research showing that the current education system had failed to maintain high-quality teachers — resulting in what he called an “assassination of students’ creativity”.

“Children under 10 are so creative, but that will be useless if their teachers lack substance and methodology in their teaching. Children should feel motivated in their learning,” he said.

Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan said the country’s education system had neglected the quality of teachers and focused too much on assessing students, which could be seen in the lack of character and integrity in the society and bureaucracy.

“Teachers are the main key to education. We have quite many teachers, but the quality is low. We tend to put the onus on students, not teachers. This probably explains why there is so much corruption and lack of integrity in our society,” he said.

Anies, who is the founder of Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar (GIM), also said the current education system had forgotten the importance of proper management in schools, which should be improved by principals.

“Poor management in schools has alienated the best teachers from their students. This condition can be improved by the private sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Phillia Wibowo, a partner at McKinsey & Company, mentioned four potential initiatives for the next government, which will take over in October, to consider.

Philia also suggested the government move toward a demand-driven curriculum and continue to develop alternative educational pathways along with public and private partnerships. She also emphasized the need for education to match the likely needs of employers.

Citing an official document from the company, Philia said the government should “raise the standard of teaching, including by offering competitive compensation, raising the quality bar and elevating the status of teachers”.

Meanwhile, Deputy Education and Culture Minister Musliar Kasim revealed that his ministry would provide review-based recommendations for local administrations to improve education facilities and school infrastructure in each region.

“We will conduct more censuses and surveys regarding our schools’ conditions, but we already have a complete map to help local administrations improve education facilities in their regions,” Musliar said.

According to Musliar, since 2011 the ministry had renovated tens of thousands of schools. He added that local administrations should also be responsible for maintaining and improving facilities.

“However, we still find damaged schools in many areas. That’s because a lot of local regents and governors do not allocate much for education in their regional budgets,” he said. (gda)

Sumber: The Jakarta Post