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Govt looks to bishops in fight against extremism

Indonesia's education minister looks to apply Catholic schools' character-building program to the state system

Govt looks to bishops in fight against extremism

Indonesia’s Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy (wearing hat) poses for a photo with bishops following a meeting on Aug 25. ( photo)

August 28, 2017

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Indonesia’s Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy has met with bishops to discuss how a character-building program introduced by Catholic schools can be applied in state-run schools as part of efforts to tackle extremism.

The ministry is planning to strengthen character building — which stresses the values of religion, nationalism, interdependency, mutual cooperation and integrity — in at least 1,500 state-run elementary schools and junior high schools across the country.

It is expected these schools will act as model schools for other institutions, providing examples of best practices in character strengthening among students.

"I met the bishops to ask for suggestions on character building because Catholic educational institutions have contributed much to education in Indonesia," the minister told reporters following the meeting on Aug. 25.

He referred to Catholic schools organizing live-in programs, whereby Catholic students from big cities stay for a few days in the homes of people living in remote areas where there is no electricity or clean water so that they experience the hardships other people have to live with.

"Live-in programs are very good to build interdependency and mutual cooperation," Effendy said.

Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, the bishops’ conference chairman, said the program instills social and moral sensitivities in students.

Providing students with literature on social responsibilities can also help character building, he said.



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