Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Volume Ⅰ
Notes on Human Rights Education in Schools
There is yet no specific curricular activity on human rights education in the primary schools in Indonesia. However, to a certain extent, it is considered that part of the human rights principles, mainly those related to the nation's philosophy (Pancasila), are already part of the curricular activity called 'civic education'. Indirectly, human rights principles are also partly reflected in the teachings of History and Religion. The main assumption why human rights is not taught as a specific subject matter is the overloaded primary school curriculum.
In a workshop on human rights education held by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission last March, it was among others proposed that the Commission assist in developing the following activities:
- development of a pilot project on human rights curriculum for primary schools. This can a one-year project to be discussed with the curriculum development center at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Indonesia.
- development of human rights education materials and of training program for teachers, headmasters, supervisors and local administrators on developing these materials;
- development of printed learning materials such as worksheets, leaflets, comics, and resource books for teachers.
There is no follow-up yet on the above proposals due to various constraints (personnel, budget, time). However, in view of the fact that human rights materials for primary school children are not yet available in Indonesia, and considering the already overloaded curriculum, a different approach can also be employed to develop awareness in both teachers and children on the universality of human rights values. One such approach which can be considered (according to me) is to develop posters and the sorts which can be distributed to schools or become fillers in the national and private television stations. The main aim would be: an awareness type of activity on human rights values with children as the target group. This indirect method may not be as effective compared to a curricular activity, but it will hopefully stimulate teachers and children to discuss the content of the posters during extracurricular activities. For this reason it would be useful if this workshop can also be instrumental in gathering human rights education materials and methods targeted to children of different ages which can then be used and adapted to a country's needs and for non-curricular activities.