Education system 'to blame for radicalism'

Classes need to espouse national ideology, seminar concludes

Education system 'to blame for radicalism'
Masdar Farid Masudi speaks at the forum in Jakarta
Konradus Epa, Jakarta, Indonesia

June 9, 2011

Speakers at a seminar organized yesterday by the bishops’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs say the national education system implemented particularly in state and Muslim-run schools has helped foster extremism. “Radicalism emerged in Muslim-run schools because our national education system gave militant groups the chance to teach it,” said Eva Kusuma Sundari, a legislator. She was addressing about 70 people attending the seminar in Jakarta entitled Islamic State of Indonesia vs. Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. “We plan to amend the [national education] legislation by inserting the values of Pancasila [five principles] into it,” she said, adding that an education act approved in 2003 by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri failed to include the principles. The national ideology of Pancasila, enshrined in the preamble to the 1945 constitution, stresses belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia, democracy guided by consensus, and social justice for all. Sukardi Rinakit, another speaker shared one example of radicalism being taught in schools. He said his son once sang a song he learned at school with the lyrics: “I must fight for Islam until I die and kill those who are against Islam.” Although it was a song it clearly “shows that our schools teach radicalism,” he said. Related reports Local powers ‘must tackle radicals’ Academics launch anti-radical group