Indonesia’s plan to emphasize religion over science in schools is misguided

This idea is EXACTLY backwards.

Indonesia Envisions More Religion in Schools.

Millions of children in Indonesian elementary schools may no longer have separate science classes starting in June, the beginning of their next school year, if the government approves a curriculum overhaul that would merge science and social studies with other classes so more time can be devoted to religious education.

A draft of the proposal was posted online in November and December for public comment. The government is analyzing the feedback and will meet with a team of experts shortly to develop new lesson plans.

Officials who back the changes say that more religious instruction is needed because a lack of moral development has led to an increase in violence and vandalism among youths, and that could fuel social unrest and corruption in the future.

“Right now many students don’t have character, tolerance for others, empathy for others,” Musliar Kasim, the deputy minister of education, said in an interview in November. He proposed the changes in September.

“We’re going to have a lost generation,” said Srisetiowati Seiful, executive director of the Surya Institute, a private foundation that develops alternative math and science teaching materials. “It’s going to mean fewer researchers, less technology development. It’s Indonesia entering the Dark Ages.”

But critics of the proposal do not think that a curriculum overhaul is the answer. Some teachers worry that government and religious leaders are oversimplifying the problem and are using terms like “character building” and “morality” to justify more religious education.

Many mistaken assumptions in this story. First, that moral development is ONLY through religion. Many holes in THAT idea. Also, science (along with other parts of the curriculum such as math and arts) can provide kids with an outlet they are GOOD at and help them succeed at school and at life. Finally, it is SO short sighted to forego science in every country. We all desperately need better science education. Science will be the key to solving many upcoming problems of society. Why ransom that for more religious instruction? I’m glad the critics are talking sense.