Multi-faith protesters fail to stop religious Bill

20th June 2003 at 01:00

A GOVERNMENT education Bill has been passed despite strong opposition from religious and inter - denominational groups as well as leading individuals.

The president will sign the Bill in the next 30 days.

Opposition to the Bill mainly centred on the government's insistence that children be taught religious knowledge by people of the same faith.

In a multi-faith country that has been plagued by inter-communal strife since the fall of President Suharto, some groups insist that this is inappropriate interference in schools with a mixed intake of religions.

Many Christian schools, especially in the big cities, have a large number of Muslim students.

Since March there have been noisy demonstrations outside the National Assembly in Jakarta by teachers and students, including Catholic and Protestant principals, as well as the inter-faith Plural Society Group.

Further opposition has come from ousted ex-president Abdurrahman Wahid, a leading Muslim intellectual, who said that the government was interfering in what is essentially a private matter.

Meanwhile, Professor Mochtar Buchori, a leading Indonesian educationist, has criticised the government for not introducing reforms of the curriculum, saying that they are long overdue.

Indonesia's education system is bureaucratic and relies on an enormous volume of testing - secondary students are tested frequently in as many as 15 subjects.

* More than 400 schools have been torched in the troubled Indonesian province of Aceh in the far north of Sumatra - 200 were burnt down in a single night. At least 90,000 children are affected. This followed a renewal of the conflict between the Indonesian military and Acehnese separatists.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now