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Indonesian mum kills daughter over poor schoolwork

Girl, 8, is said to have had difficulty understanding coursework while studying online because of coronavirus

Indonesian mum kills daughter over poor schoolwork

Children attend a class at the Good Shepherd Catholic Elementary School in Abepura, Papua, in this file photo. (Photo: Ryan Dagur)

A woman has been arrested in Indonesia for allegedly killing her eight-year-old daughter over her poor schoolwork.

The 26-year-old woman, who was not named, beat the girl because she was angry her daughter was having difficulty understanding a course she was having to learn online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, David Kusuma, a police spokesman in Banten province’s Lebak district, told reporters.

There was extensive bruising to the girl’s head, he said on Sept. 15.

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The girl is said to have died on Aug. 26 and been buried in secret in a public cemetery in Cipalabuh, a village in the district.

The killing came to light on Sept. 12 when villagers became suspicious of the new grave as no one in their village had died recently. They examined the grave and found the girl's body.

Police said the victim had a twin sister who is now being cared for by relatives.

The case has sparked concern among educators and observers who feel the case indicates flaws in online learning.

Retno Listyarti, from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission, said it is investigating the case and would look closely at whether the way online learning was implemented by the girl’s school was a contributory factor to what happened.

"Our preliminary findings indicate many children are struggling with online learning," she told UCA News.

"There are still many schools that are not treating this special situation caused by the pandemic the way they should be. They are making rigorous demands on children by setting rigid curriculum targets and too many assignments for children." 

Franciscan Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council of Catholic Education, said the case was a complex issue.

"This could also relate to the state of mind of the child's parents, who could have been experiencing many pressures due to the pandemic, which could have been taken out on their children," he said.

In this context, he said, it is necessary to build communication between schools and parents so that pressure on them and their children can be kept to a minimum.

"For Catholic schools, we urge them to implement a happy learning process, which does mean having to pursue curriculum targets so avidly," he said. "The main goal is the welfare of the children." 

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