Indonesia: Catholic educators draft guidelines to counter extremism

guidelines

Catholic education experts in Indonesia are drafting what they say are new school guidelines to counter growing intolerance and radicalism in classrooms.

Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council of Catholic Education says diversity, pluralism and tolerance need to be taught to children in the family and in school.

He said advice would be sought from Islamic experts and thinkers from other religions.

The guidelines will not only incorporate promoting the values of Pancasila — Indonesia’s philosophy to respect pluralism, it will refer to Pope Francis’ document, Educating Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools: Living in Harmony for a Civilisation of Love.

Mbula said the guidelines would be presented to the government, where he hopes they would be integrated into the mainstream curriculum.

“In the current curriculum there is no special attention given to efforts to cultivate awareness about diversity and building tolerance.”

Mbula referred to a 2015 survey in 171 schools in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java that revealed 9.5 percent of students supported violence committed by radical groups, including the so-called Islamic State group.

An earlier survey by the Institute for Islamic and Peace Studies revealed that almost 50 percent of students supported radical ideas.

Ahmad Nurcholish, a Muslim, and chairman of the education of diversity and peace division at the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace said students must have an inclusive and contextual understanding of religion.

“There are still many who only believe in the ‘truth’ of their religion, dismissing other people’s beliefs as wrong and misguided,” he said.

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News category: Pacific.

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