Catholic educators in Indonesia have welcomed a government plan to involve schools and teachers in the fight against intolerance by having them teach the values of state philosophy. Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy said recently that the ministry would teach the tenets of Pancasila ("five principles") in all elementary and junior high schools through special activities rather than conventional teaching methods. He suggested that schools spend eight hours a week on these subjects, in the classroom and during extra-curricular activities.
Franciscan Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council of Catholic Education, said that the government's plan is in line with principles emphasized by Catholic schools. "Catholic schools have long committed to instill these values in students," he told ucanews.com. However, with growing intolerance in the country, all efforts must be geared to re-actualize traditional values and support Indonesian educators and institutions if needed, the priest said.
Pancasila, the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state stipulates belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia, democracy guided by consensus, and social justice for all citizens. Making these principles properly understood and liveable in daily life can serve as a solution to curb the intolerance and radicalism that threatens national unity.
Earlier, President Joko Widodo called on teachers and schools to focus on character-building activities and teaching students the values of democracy, following a series of mass rallies held by hard-line group the Islamic Defenders Front in 2016 in Jakarta to demand the city's Christian governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama be put to death for blasphemy. (Source: UCAN)