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Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Volume II

The State of Human Rights Education in Indonesian Schools: Developing a Model*

Saparinah Sadli, Soetandyo Wignosoebroto, S. Belen

One stream of opinion argues that it is unnecessary to introduce a separate course on human rights education (HRE) in schools, because it already exists, to a certain degree, in the primary school curriculum. Subjects such as Pancasila (state ideology) and Civics Education, Social Studies, including History, and Bahasa Indonesia (the national language) are closely related to human rights issues. Junior and senior high schools offer the same subjects as well as Sociology and Anthropology, which are also closely related to human rights issues. Both primary and secondary curricula are very dense and overloaded. Integrating human rights into various subjects will only result in repetition of and overlapping with existing curricula. Further, emphasizing human rights will undermine the current trend of lightening the curriculum. This stream of opinion also poses some questions: Is it reasonable to introduce HRE to primary and secondary students? On what basis do you demand that they learn about human rights?

Another stream of opinion argues that HRE can be implemented in schools by using a model that emphasizes triangular interactions among headteacher-teachers-students in daily teaching-learning activities.

Holders of this opinion also argue that human-rights-related subjects have not changed students' behavior because they are only theoretically and verbally taught. By changing the teacher-centered methodology to one that is student-centered, schools can develop students' knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that are respectful of human rights. A student-centered orientation applying an active learning strategy or participatory approach will create conditions that uphold the child's rights in school in particular and human rights in general. According to The Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is recognized as a person below the age of 18 years. Consequently, primary and high school students are still classified as children. The connection between a child's rights according to the convention (1989; quoted from Sarna) and supportive conditions are presented in the following table.

Table 1: The connection between a child's rights and conditions created by an active learning strategy

Table 1

The existence of these two conflicting streams of opinion make it worthwhile to pilot HRE in a number of selected primary and secondary schools.

From 1980 to 1993, the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC, Pusat Kurikulum) of the Office of Educational and Cultural Research and Development (Balitbang Dikbud) of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) developed a model of active learning through professional support for primary school teachers. The model development was conducted by the ALPS (Active Learning through Professional Support) Project funded by the British government's ODA (Overseas Development Administration), managed by The British Council. The model was first developed in Cianjur District of West Java province and then replicated in six centers: West Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara), Binjai (North Sumatra), Bandar Lampung (Lampung), Maros (South Sulawesi) and Tanah Laut (South Kalimantan). It concentrated on four subjects: Bahasa Indonesia, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. CDC introduced the active learning strategy to some state and private high schools in Cianjur, Jakarta, Surabaya, North Sumatra and North Sulawesi at their request. Similar ideas and practices of the ALPS model were also developed in the Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP) in India. Ravi and Rao (in Little, Hoppers and Gardner 1994) state that a dual purpose of the pilot phase of APPEP is to provide new improved primary school classrooms and to improve human resources by enhancing the quality of the work of teachers and supervisors in primary schools. The similarity is not surprising; Roy Gardner of the Institute of Education University of London and a number of U.K. tutors who work for the ALPS Project were also involved in APPEP.

The Department for International Development (DFID, formerly the ODA) evaluated the ALPS Project in 1997, uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of the development model. A number of good ideas and practices resulting from the model have been introduced into the Indonesian education system:

  • the development of 1984 and 1994 curricula for nursery, primary and secondary schools;
  • the development of textbooks by the MEC Book Centre and by some private publishers;
  • the development of modules of the diploma II primary teacher equalization program managed by the Open University;
  • the introduction of school clustering, teachers centers, teachers clubs and headteachers working groups in the primary education system throughout the country;
  • the application of active learning ideas in CDC activities; the development of primary Bahasa Indonesia teaching-learning activities and a curriculum for gifted students in primary and junior high schools; the evaluation of the 1994 curriculum for primary and senior secondary schools; and the development of the curriculum of East Timor history and of its teachers' guides in primary and senior secondary schools;
  • the development of curriculum in 37 junior high schools and madrasah (Islam schools) in Lampung province (South Sumatra) on local skills subject.

It is worthwhile to apply a number of relevant ALPS ideas and practices in HRE in Indonesian primary and secondary schools.

Since the 1980s, the MEC's Directorate of General Secondary Education developed a model similar to ALPS for improving secondary school teachers' competence by revitalizing content, decentralizing the in-service teacher training program to the district level, and systematically involving the provincial MEC staff, including supervisors and headteachers, in the training program. The training program includes PKG (the establishment of teachers' work) and MGMP (the association of subject teachers). Master tutors of PKG also establish teachers workshops for neighboring schools. Networks of PKG, MGMP and teachers workshops exist in many towns and districts throughout the country.

One of the weaknesses of the ALPS Project—and many other innovative projects as well—is its failure to establish a link with the Institute of Teacher Training and Education (IKIP) or Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP) of regional universities. Teacher education institutes play a significant role in educating students who—as new teachers—will not only apply an active learning strategy but also support teachers through in-service training programs. The ALPS Project had attempted to establish a link with IKIP Bandung and later IKIP Jakarta, unfortunately with inadequate results.

A lesson learned from this failure is that it is worthwhile to introduce HRE into teacher education institutes and primary and secondary schools.

HRE can apply ALPS active learning ideas and practices and use the PKG, MGMP and teachers workshop networks. Before introducing HRE into the primary and secondary school system, it is worthwhile to pilot it and develop a small-scale model. In July 1998, a small HRE project was started in Cianjur—where the ALPS Project started in 1980—to pilot and develop the model at the primary school level. This project is conducted by the MEC's CDC in cooperation with the National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM).

In response to a growing demand for HRE—a logical reaction to human rights violations during the New Order government—the CDC intends to extend the piloting and model development to the secondary school level and teacher training institutes. Fortunately, the UNESCO Jakarta Office supports new projects in a number of Kupang (West Timor, East Nusa Tenggara province or NTT) primary and secondary schools, including madrasah and technical schools, as well as the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP) of the State University of Nusa Cendana and of Catholic University of Widya Mandira. The majority of secondary schools in NTT are private Christian schools. Representatives from the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Social Sciences are involved in the training of trainers (TOT). After training, it is expected that they will initiate a study center for human rights that will begin HRE in all faculties and assist communities by advocating and protecting human rights.

The reasons for selecting primary and secondary schools in Kupang are as follows.

  • Human rights activists maintain that the New Order violates human rights in all provinces. However, the people of East Timor, Irian Jaya and Aceh are the most vulnerable. One reason is that the Armed Forces has classified them as a Military Operation Region, which has led to long-term abuses of power and human rights violations. The violations create international repercussions due to East Timor's unrecognized status by the United Nations and European Union. Choosing East Timor as a site for HRE now is problematic due to its volatile political situation. However, it is expected that human rights educators in NTT trained by this project will be able to disseminate the HRE model in East Timor and do so effectively thanks to cooperation among the Offices of Education and Culture of both provinces, the FKIPs of Nusa Cendana and Widya Mandira Universities, and the FKIP of East Timor University.
  • The Indonesian student reform movement, which emphasizes political, economic and legal reform, eventually forced President Soeharto, unchallenged for three decades, to step down on 21 May 1998. Student activists argue that corruption, collusion, nepotism and crony capitalism are the main factors which brought about the country's monetary, economic and political legitimacy crises. They held widespread and continuous demonstrations all over the country to demand transparency from their rulers. They also argue that democracy, without the appreciation of and respect for human rights, especially political, economic and legal rights, is a sham. The euphoria of democracy in the initial reform era will backslide into authoritarianism if the citizens, including primary and secondary school students, are not aware of human rights. NTT is one of the least developed provinces due to frequent droughts, famines and its archipelagic nature. This development problem should not have been used to rationalize postponing HRE.
  • On 25 June 1998, President Habibie officially launched the country's five-year National Action Plan on Human Rights as a part of the new government's plan to improve human rights protection. The President set as targets to be met by 2003 the ratification of human rights conventions, the dissemination of information and education on human rights, and the implementation of human rights principles. He also emphasized that the success of the program will depend on the massive promotion of legal awareness and the strengthening of human rights as a part of the nation's culture through training and education of the people. Before the program was launched, human rights activists exposed the daily occurrence of human rights violations in many provinces, including NTT. HRE in primary and secondary schools is not only relevant but also urgent. A great number of educational innovation action researches have been conducted in western Indonesia, mainly in Java. The government's efforts to shift national development efforts from the western to the eastern part of Indonesia have not been attended by HRE. It is expected that educators in NTT will contribute something valuable to the whole nation.

It seems that findings of the pilot

study and development model in Kupang, Timor and NTT will be relevant to East Timor, Irian Jaya, Aceh and other provinces, especially those made up of many islands and islets.

Opportunity and Constraint

The pilot studies and model development in Cianjur and Kupang were conducted in the initial era of total reform. A number of opportunities and constraints can be identified and are presented in the following table.

Table 2: Opportunities and constraints faced by the initial development of HRE
Table 2

Goals

The goals of piloting and developing models of HRE should be carefully deliberated. The general goal of introducing HRE into the primary and secondary school system is the gradual implementation of HRE. At the initial stage, the implementation should be motivated by supportive headteachers and teachers in a limited number of schools. The dissemination depends on the motivation of neighboring schools. Larger-scale dissemination relies on concrete results of HRE implementation. The introduction of HRE applies the school-based development approach. Using schools' local resources should be seriously considered.

The specific aims of the piloting and model development of HRE at the primary and secondary school levels and in teacher education institutions are as follows. Supervisors, headteachers, school teachers and teachers at teacher education institutes are expected to be able to:

  • understand human rights concepts and be willing to consider human rights issues in their communities and schools;
  • identify and analyze human-rights-related issues in their subjects;
  • decide how to implement HRE in daily interactions and teaching-learning processes;
  • attempt to spread their HRE knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes to neighboring schools through teachers clubs, teachers workshops, teachers centers or associations of subject teachers (MGMP) or to all faculties of IKIP or FKIP;
  • develop HRE training packages to be used in other teachers clubs, teachers workshops, teachers centers or associations of subject teachers in other districts of a province;
  • develop a teachers' guide to introduce HRE through modeling and teaching-learning processes;
  • develop low-cost learning materials such as short articles, short stories, comics and leaflets that are used by students in their schools and neighboring schools.

Small-scale pilot studies and model development are expected to be finished in two years. Their evaluation will produce feedback for revising the model. A revised model can then be disseminated on a larger scale. While two years are insufficient, the urgency of introducing HRE requires the team to race against time. Regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the model, HRE should be introduced into the field soon. The model can be revised during dissemination process.

Action Research and Research Question

From another point of view, the pilot studies and model development are an action research. The action research refers to three ideas as follows.

  • Teachers, headteachers and supervisors in the field are responsible for developing the model using their own resources in an inductive or a bottom-up approach. In other words, the development model is school-based.
  • The model is developmental in that it will be developed gradually in response to existing and changing needs, problems, constraints and opportunities faced by teachers, headteachers and supervisors. This is not a ready-for-use model but an ongoing, revised model.
  • Internal experts from CDC and external experts from other countries are only facilitators.

Six research questions must be answered.

  • Can teachers and headteachers introduce HRE in their schools after simply reading a teachers guide about HRE?
  • Can members of teachers clubs, teachers workshops, the association of subject teachers or teachers centers introduce HRE in schools after simply reading a manual?
  • Can teachers develop learning materials on HRE such as leaflets, posters, comics, articles and short stories after simply looking at samples?
  • How can a model of HRE developed by teachers and headteachers in an area be disseminated to other areas without going through top-down in-service teacher training workshops managed by MEC?
  • How can a model of HRE developed by teachers and headteachers in a district be disseminated to other districts without going through top-down in-service teacher training workshops managed by MEC?
  • How can a teacher education institute (IKIP or FKIP) incorporate HRE in its curricula and daily student-teacher interactions and establish mutually beneficial links with schools implementing HRE?

The answers to these questions will be invaluable for educational innovation.

Output

The output of the pilot studies and model development is as follows.

  • At the initial stage, there will be a core of human rights educators in a piloting site made up of supervisors, headteachers, teachers and lecturers at teacher training institutes.
  • The number of human rights school educators will increase through local training in periodic meetings of teachers clubs, teachers workshops, teachers centers or associations of subject teachers.
  • The number of human rights educators in a teacher education institute will increase through "natural" dissemination to all its faculties and subsequently to other institutes in and outside the area.
  • An applicable teacher training manual will be written that can be used to introduce HRE through local training in teachers clubs, teachers workshops, associations of subject teachers, teachers centers and teacher education institutes.
  • Applicable teachers guides will be written that can be used to implement HRE through modeling and teaching-learning processes.
  • Low-cost learning materials will be produced, such as short articles, short stories, comic books and leaflets that can be used by students.
  • A development model of HRE will evolve that can be disseminated to schools in a province and replicated in similar provinces.

Contents

The initial training of core human rights educators consists of the following:

  • introduction;
  • human rights concepts, including peace education and multicultural education;
  • participatory approach or active learning strategy;
  • human rights, including peace and multicultural education, and the curriculum;
  • training management;
  • development of HRE materials, including materials related to peace and multicultural education;
  • training evaluation.

Methodology

The methodology of training focuses on a participatory approach or active learning strategy. The principles of the approach or strategy are as follows.

  • * Participants are divided into small groups made up of teachers, headteacher and supervisor.
  • * Participants work in groups, in pairs, individually and as a whole class.
  • * Participants decide what activities they will engage in and how.
  • * Participants observe the local community where they interview families.
  • * Participants read materials on human rights, including peace and multicultural education.
  • * Participants produce a variety of materials such as discussion reports, matrices of human rights, peace and multicultural education-related curricula, examples of topic webs, lesson plans, worksheets and topic plans to be used in meetings of teachers clubs, teachers workshops, teachers centers or associations of subject teachers, and back-home action plans.
  • * Some participants' work is displayed in classrooms.
  • * Facilitators always guide participants.

Participants

Thirty-one school educators in Cianjur and 34 in Kupang are involved in TOT and model development. Participants must:

  • be able to motivate other colleagues;
  • have experience as a tutor, especially in Pancasila (state ideology), Civics Education, Primary Social Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Language, Economics or Geography;
  • show potential for creativity in improving teaching-learning activities in their schools;
  • have experience in writing teachers guides or other learning materials, have potential for writing or show motivation for learning how to write such materials;
  • show an interest in studying culture.

There are 20 participants in the initial training of FKIP educators, consisting of heads of study programs and lecturers (teachers). Participants must:

  • be able to motivate other colleagues;
  • teach Pancasila, Civics, Bahasa Indonesia, English, Economics, Biology, Music, Drama and Dance, and Guidance and Counseling, or currently manage study programs of these subjects;
  • have experience as a tutor or show willingness to tutor teachers in activities of teachers clubs, teachers centers, the association of subject teachers and teachers workshops;
  • show potential for creativity in improving teaching-learning activities in their institute.

Time, Activities and People Involved

To be more concrete, Kupang schools and FKIPs of Nusa Cendana University and Widya Mandira University are chosen as examples.

Table 3: Time periods, activities and number of people

Table 3
Table 3(2)

The process of pilot study and model development is presented in the following flowchart.

Flow chart

Controversial Issues

From the short experience in piloting and model development, a number of issues have arisen.

* The implementation of certain human rights at the individual and local levels to a certain extent contradicts the teaching of religious doctrines concerning, for example, the rights to marry, to divorce and to remarry (against Catholic doctrines on marriage); and the rights to abortion (against almost all religions), to choose a religion, to convert to another religion or to be agnostic (against the doctrines of all religions).

* Some teachers and headteachers are not ready to respond to children's demands for their rights. At one primary school a few pupils reminded their headteacher to stop smoking before flag ceremony, in front of all the children at the school. Primary school children start to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of a teacher in teaching. They speak frankly to their teachers. Some teachers are not ready to listen to children's objections.

* A number of parents are not ready to deal with their children's demands for their right to play, for freedom from cruel punishment and for their right to privacy (to save money in a secret place, to hide a diary, to keep their personal letters to themselves).

* The implementation of certain human rights at the individual and local levels to a certain extent contradicts local customs reflecting cultural values and norms, such as, for example, the rights of a woman to choose her husband, to ask for divorce and to remarry according to her will. Other issues are parents' preference to educate boys at the expense of girls and the tradition of many ethnic groups that deny girls their right to inherit.

* In primary school a difficult question that has not been answered is whether it is better to teach HRE to children in grades one and two or to start from grade three. Is it reasonable to start HRE in nursery school?

* There are three HRE alternatives: (1) HRE becomes a part of Pancasila (state ideology) and Civics Education only. (2) HRE is not part of a specific subject but is integrated into various subjects when relevant. (3) Combination of alternatives 1 and 2, where a subject is primarily devoted to HRE. The curriculum of HRE is incorporated into the curriculum of the subject (Pancasila and Civics Education, for example). In addition, relevant subjects must relate human rights issues to relevant topics. In Indonesia, the alternative has not been chosen yet.

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* Paper presented at the Asia & Pacific Regional Conference: Education for Human Rights, World Peace Center, MAEER's MIT, Pune, Maharashtra State, India, 2-6 February 1999.


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