Unlike Sri Lanka, Japan, India and the Philippines, Indonesia does not have a human rights course in schools. It does, however, offer at all educational levels a compulsory subject called Pancasila Moral Education and Civics (PMEC), in which, presumably unwittingly, the importance of human rights is brought up.
Pancasila, meaning "five principles," is the Indonesian nation's life philosophy, and constitutes a belief in God, humanity, unity, democracy and social justice. The subject serves as a means to:
The teaching-learning process of PMEC abides by a set of guidelines. Those stipulated for the primary school include the following:
PMEC covers 90 topics evenly distributed among the six grades. Seemingly ambitious, actually many of the topics overlap, meaning that the same topic (sensitivity, for example) is taken up in several grades. A number of topics (love, compassion, humanity, care, public interest, for example) may fall under one category. As reorganized, therefore, there are actually 43 topics of which about 30 percent are either directly or closely related to human rights (Table 1) (Depdikbud 1994).
Table 1 shows that many of the topics (with an asterisk) are either directly or closely related to human rights values and that they take about half the time allotted to PMEC, or approximately 102 meetings. Since so much time is spent on PMEC, which touches on human rights, the education authorities do not deem a special program for human rights to be necessary.
Recent developments, as well as time-honored habits, however, do not justify this assumption. Arbitrary arrests, kidnapping, torture, detention, unfair trials and sentences by law enforcers, poor pay and a low standard of living, restrictions on the freedom of expression, and to top it all, religious, ethnic and racial discrimination and riots, all but prove that the PMEC program is ineffective, if not a failure. The seemingly less serious, but more frequent, human rights offenses, including insults, jokes and comments aimed at physical and mental defects, also show that the program is deficient.
The problem does not lie so much in the nature of the program as in its implementation. Although it is true that the program lacks theoretical bases (for example, how are grade-specific topics determined?), its major drawback is poor application. My recent preliminary survey on the teaching-learning process of PMEC in six state primary schools in Malang revealed that cognitive objectives are the teacher's main concern, whereas affective and behavioral objectives are basically neglected or handled ineffectively. Students learn about the nature and importance of the values from books and from the teacher. Tasks are mainly textbook-based. Some teachers may go as far as using simulation and role-playing, and bringing students to occasional trips to museums, temples, train stations, recreation centers and the like. All six schools require students to contribute regularly to the alms box or to the building of a mosque as the only way to teach the students humanity.
These findings show that the teachers do not understand the essence of human rights and human rights education (HRE), and support the conclusion of the 1997 Bangkok Meeting summary that teachers are among the major problems in HRE.
|4. *Law & Order||V||V||V||V||4||4.44|
|6. *Peace & Hamony||V||V||V||VV||5||5.55|
|21. *Family Spirit||V||V||2||2.22|
|24. *Rights, Duties & Reponsibilities||V||V||V||V||4||4.44|
|31. Sense of beauty||V||V||2||2.22|
|41. Oneness & Unity||V||1||1.11|
Although I completely agree with the meeting's conclusion that government bureaucrats' negative attitude toward HRE is major obstacle, I also contend that correcting and improving HRE should start with the teacher. First, teachers are accessible. Second, they are generally positively inclined to attend training programs because they add color to their drab existence and credit points to their professional record. Third, and most important, because they exert an extraordinary influence on students, teachers are powerful, probably the most powerful, element in the teaching-learning process. A teacher training program in HRE as suggested by the meeting would, therefore, benefit teachers and PMEC in general.
However, what teachers in Indonesia most fear about new ideas is that they may have to change the curriculum and teach for more hours. Their fears have to be allayed. New insights, ideas and strategies need not entail curriculum changes nor encumber the teacher with extra chores. In Indonesia, teaching human rights values is already integrated into an existing, relevant subject, which is taught for enough hours. No change in curriculum is necessary, but teachers must be more focused and use more effective presentations, strategies, materials, activities and evaluation techniques. In language art education, I found that most primary school teachers wish to learn different, more effective and more motivating teaching-learning methods and techniques, but at no inconvenience to themselves. I am certain that PMEC teachers feel the same way.
Teaching training programs are
usually initiated from above by government, and private, local,
regional and national authorities. Since most authorities are
"allergic" to HRE programs, they cannot be relied upon to support
them. However, people with NGO expertise in organizing human rights
training programs for a variety of audiences can initiate teacher
training programs. It would be excellent if such programs started
among primary school teachers.
HURIGHTS OSAKA. 1997. "Human Rights, Culture and the Schools." FOCUS Asia-Pacific 10. Osaka: Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center.
Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. 1994/1995. Jakarta: Depdikbud
Kurikulum Pendidikan Dasar. 1994. Garis-garis Besar Program Pengajaran. Jakarta: Depdikbud.
Sarna, Shirley. 1996. For the Dawn of a New Millennium : Human Rights Education. Quebec: Commission on Human Rights and Rights of Citizens.