Jakarta: protests will not stop the school reform, in force since 15 July
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Months of widespread protests and a wave of criticism did not prevent the Indonesian Ministry of Education from completing and approving the much-disputed educational reform, the controversial ""Curriculum 2013". The Minister, Muhammad Nuh, at the centre of controversy in recent weeks, has made operational the regulatory framework, thanks to the support received from the national parliament. Intellectuals and Christian leaders have long opposed the reform, which would only favour "private interests" in the face of a lack of training of the teaching staff and the (useless) purchase of new texts.
According to the work schedule, the reform will come into force starting July 15 with the opening of the new school year in Indonesia after the month of summer vacation. A step that definitively marks the failure of critics and opponents, who have repeatedly asked to "suspend" the application.
Taking to the streets are not only teachers, educators and school staff, but also foundations and movements throughout the country and persons belonging to various (and different) religious confessions. These included the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) and the Synod of Protestant churches (PGI), which have repeatedly denounced the unpreparedness and the delays in the preparatory work at the start of the reform.
A last, desperate attempt was made today by the Teachers' Association in cooperation with Jakarta's Legal Aid Foundation, which provides for the "collection of material" necessary to "bring a lawsuit against the government". A priest from the capital, a school and education expert, confirms that the vast majority of teachers is not yet ready to apply in practice the reform. Moreover, it would also be "politically" contrary to the principles of freedom and pluralism enshrined in the 1945 Constitution, whose preamble states that "education is to enlighten students" and not "confuse them."
Finally, with the change of the school curriculum, there are at risk thousands of jobs on account of the amalgamation of some disciplines and the cutting of others, such as English in elementary school, or computer science in high school. The reform will be introduced in 6,325 schools scattered throughout the 33 provinces of the country. Billions of rupees in Indonesia have been invested for a reform which seems to confirm a popular Indonesian saying: "new minister of education, new curriculum" and public money goes up in smoke.