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  3. Human Rights Education in Asian Schools
  4. Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Volume VI
  5. Human Rights Education in Indonesian Schools: An Update

Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Backnumber

Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Volume VI

Human Rights Education in Indonesian Schools: An Update


Since independence in 1945, Indonesia has made significant progress in education. The Constitution stipulates that "every citizen has the right to obtain instruction (education) where the government is obliged to provide and implement a national education system governed by law" (Article 31). Before independence, education was limited to the elite. Less than 5% of Indonesians were literate. The biggest challenge for the new government was to develop its human resources.

   The 1952 Education Act and the 1989 act adopted democratic principles, equality of opportunity, and equity. Article 5 of the new act says that "every citizen has an equal right to obtain education."
   Article 6 says that "every citizen has the right to participate in education in order to obtain knowledge, ability, and skills at least equal to the knowledge, ability, and skills of a primaryschool graduate."
   Article 7 stipulates that "the enrollment of a person as a student in any education program be implemented without discrimination in terms of gender, religion, ethnicity, race, social status, and economic status, with an understanding that the uniqueness of the respective program shall be considered."
   Article 8 says, "(1) a citizen with disability, physical as well as mental, has the right to obtain special education; (2) a citizen who has an outstanding ability and intelligence has the right to get a special attention."
   The people and government have thus launched various programs and activities to bring the nation closer to realizing individual rights and the full implementation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26), which says:
   (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
   (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
   (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Some Significant Interventions

With limited funds, the government launched the education development plan in 1969, placing high priority on the quantitative expansion of educational opportunity for all, from preschool to higher education. Special attention was given to the expansion of primary education with the construction of thousands of school buildings and classrooms, training and appointment of teachers, and production and distribution of textbooks to rural schools. To democratize education, the government and communities launched nonformal education programs (or out-of-school education) to cater to all learners. The launching of packets A (primary), B (lower secondary), and C (upper secondary), and the establishment of secondary schools all over the country showed that the government was committed to provide and implement a national education system that gave access to all learners to education programs that were available in many districts and subdistricts. The country has over 1,800 institutes of higher education, state and private, providing ample opportunity to all. The programs were also open to the physically and mentally disabled.

Expansion of Educational Opportunity

Net participation in primary school has reached 94.6% (or 28.3 million students) in 1999-2000. However, many primary-school graduates are not able to continue their education to lower secondary education. Thus, net participation rate at lower secondary school is only 54.8% (9.4 million students). This is the biggest handicap in achieving the target of 9 years basic education.
   Net participation rate at upper secondary schools, general and vocational, is still below expectation (31.5% or 5.3 million students), while enrollment at universities is only 11.76% (gross participation rate) or 2.9 million students. Therefore, the main problem in the expansion of educational opportunity, especially at secondary and higher education, is that many children and youths have no access to these institutions. This has a negative impact on the overall human resource development.

Human Resources Education Pilot Study Findings

The human rights education model in schools was developed through pilot study in Cianjur (West Java) in 1998-1999, and in Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara) in 1998-2000. Pilot study in Cianjur was conducted by the Curriculum Center of Research and Development Office-- Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM). Pilot study in Kupang was conducted by the Curriculum Centre in cooperation with KOMNAS HAM and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Jakarta Office.
   In Cianjur, 20 primary schools of 10 school clusters were involved. In Kupang, 16 schools were involved, consisting of 8 primary schools, 3 junior high schools, 1 madrasah tsanawiyah (Islamic junior high school), and 4 senior high schools. Two universities were also involved-- Nusa Cendana State University (Primary Teacher Education Program, Faculty of Teacher Training, and Education and Faculty of Law) and Wydia Mandira Catholic University (Faculty of Teacher Training and Education and Faculty of Social Sciences and Politics). The involvement of lecturers of Primary Teacher Education Program and the faculties of teacher training and education was intended to: (i) prepare teacher students in teaching human rights education, and (ii) encourage the lecturers to support the professional development of primary- and secondary-schoolteachers to teach human rights. Involvement of lecturers from faculties of law, social sciences, and politics was intended to encourage them to initiate human rights study centers in universities.
   The small-scale pilot study was undertaken for 2-3 years. A number of findings can be categorized into six aspects (see Table 1).

TABLE 1. Human rights education pilot study findings
AspectsPilot study findings
1. Learning areas
   a. Teaching-learning processesFusion model: Human rights education is integrated into relevant subjects.
· Pancasila moral education,
· religious education,
· primary social studies and secondary social sciences (history, economics, geography, sociology, anthropology),
· primary science and secondary science (physics, biology, chemistry),
· Bahasa Indonesia, English, and other foreign languages,
· physical education,
· music,
· skill education.
   b. School activitiesHuman rights education is implemented through school activities such as:
· subject competition (among schools),
· art competition,
· school health competition,
· vocal group competition,
· flag ceremony,
· school assembly,
· commemoration of national days and religious days,
· contribution for poor people and refugees,
· wall magazine.
   c. Extracurricular activitiesHuman rights education is implemented through activities such as:
· scouting,
· teenagers' red cross,
· gym: self-defense,
· scientific work competition,
· sports,
· music, painting, drama.
   d. School atmosphereResulting from interactions among headteacher, teachers, students, and clerical staff, and the school ethos reflecting human rights values and concepts
2. Curriculum development approachCompetence/outcome-based approach. Development steps:
· Identify human rights education basic skills, mainly based on skills demonstrated by human rights activists.
· Identify human rights core values through the study of human rights history and that of international and national human rights instruments.
· Select main human rights contents/topics as means to develop human rights education basic skills and human rights core values.
· Identify socialization channels of human rights education, excluding teaching-learning processes.
· Construct a matrix relating to basic skills and human rights contents, human rights core values, and socialization channels of human rights education (Table 2).
3. Teaching-learning approachAdopt an active learning approach because it is the core of competence/outcomebased curriculum development approach. The core of active learning approach:
· experience,
· interaction,
· communication,
· reflection.
Components here are reflected in teaching-learning activities and create supporting conditions for the realization of child rights (Table 3).
4. Topic selectionTopic selection can apply a problem-solving approach through the following steps:
· Determine a curriculum framework.
· Identify human rights issues.
· Select human rights concepts.
· Identify human rights core values (Table 4).
· Identify entry points to relevant subjects.
· Determine human rights education topics.
· Develop lesson plans.
· Implement the lesson plans.
5. Main referencesHuman rights education references to be used by teachers are as follows:
· international human rights instruments, especially declarations, conventions, and covenants adopted by the United Nations General Assembly;
· national human rights instruments: 1945 Constitution, National Assembly Stipulation No. XVII/MPR/1998 on Human Rights, Law 39 /1999 on human rights, other relevant laws, and government regulations;
· books, writings, news and reports on human rights, and
· human rights education teachers' guides/manuals.
6. Learning resourcesFirsthand learning resources: physical, social, and cultural environments. Secondhand resources: books, novels, writings of scientists and famous persons, comics, newspapers, magazines, poems, case studies, radio and television programs, songs, holy scriptures, religious stories, history sources, pictures, illustrations, posters, games, role-plays, crossword puzzles, and advertisements.

Human Rights Education Competencies

Students at the end of primary, junior, and senior high school gradually achieve competencies of human rights education. Such competencies are achieved through continuous exercise and application of skills related to human rights content, core values, and socialization channels (Table 2). Human rights education competencies can be elaborated to construct human rights education curriculums of primary, junior, and senior high schools.

TABLE 2. Relation between human rights education basic skills and main human rights contents, core values and socialization

Supporting Conditions Created by Active Learning

The pilot study also found that even without considering the human rights education content, the active learning approach is able to create the conditions that directly help realize child rights.
   The connection between child rights (under the Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the supporting conditions is shown in Table 3.

TABLE 3. The connection between child rights and the conditions created by an active learning strategy
A child's rightsConditions created by an active learning strategy
· Right to express his/her opinion freely and to have that opinion taken into account in any matter or procedure affecting the child (Article 12.1)
· Right to freedom of association and that of peaceful assembly (Article 15.1)
Learning situations consist of group, pair, individual, and wholeclass learning. By working in pairs and in groups students can share their opinions. The teacher allows every student to decide what and how learning activities are to be done.
· Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 13.1)
· Right to freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, either orally, in writing, or in print, in the form of art or through any other media (Article 13.1)
The teacher encourages students to express their thoughts, feelings, and values in various creative works such as poems, stories, pictures, reports, posters, models, and arts and crafts.
All rights apply to all children without exception. It is the State's obligation to protect children from any form of discrimination and to take positive action to promote their rights (Article 2)Racial, sex, and religious discrimination should be prevented. The teacher develops a variety of activities according to students' individual interests, learning speed, emotional characteristics, learning difficulties, ability to receive information from hearing, seeing, or touching.
Right to protection from interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence, and from libel or slander (Article 16.1)The teacher creates an atmosphere of respect for privacy, and of openness, honesty, and sincere conflict resolution.
· The State shall protect the child from all forms of maltreatment by parents or others responsible for the care of the child and establish appropriate social programs for the prevention of abuse and the treatment of victims (Article 19.1)
· The child should grow up in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding (Preamble)
Teacher creates an atmosphere of kindness, forgiveness, and mutual help, and prevents abuse, the use of swear words, and bullying.
School discipline shall be consistent with the child's rights and dignity. (Article 28.2)The school creates an atmosphere of intrinsically motivated discipline and regulations that do not curb oral, written, facial, and bodily expressions.
Right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities, and to participate in cultural life and the arts (Article 31.1)The teacher applies learning by playing, doing, and using the physical, social, and cultural environment.
Education of the child shall be directed to the development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential (Article 29.1.a)· The active learning approach as the core of competence/outcome-based curriculum development approach applies to the development of intellectual, study, social, communicative, physical/technical, and personal skills.
· The active learning approach applies also to multiple intelligences of a child: language, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal (Howard Gardner 1983).
Note: Adapted from the table in Saparinah Sadli, Soetandyo Wignosoebroto, S. Belen, "The State of Human Rights Education (HRE) in Indonesian Schools: Developing a Model," in Human Rights Education in Asian Schools, volume 2 (Osaka: HURIGHTS OSAKA, 1999), page 14.

Topic Selection

To select human rights education topics, a problem-solving approach is conducted in four steps (Table 4). The following table shows an example of how to determine curriculum framework, identify human rights issues, select human rights concepts, and identify human rights core values.

TABLE 4. An example of four four-step pr problem-oblem-solving appr approach oach for human rights education topic selection
Human rights curriculum frameworkIssuesHuman rights conceptsCore human rights values/concepts
Self· Discrimination against minority groups
· Unjust actions toward vulnerable people (children, women, the poor, the homeless)
· Rights of minority groups
· Right to just treatment
· Equality and justice
· Access to means to improve personal and social welfare
Family· Domestic violence against women and children
· High death rate of children (1-5 years old)
· Right to live in harmony
· Right to be loved
· Right to health service
· Right to have food, clothes, and shelter
· Protection
· Respect for human dignity
CommunityChild labor, street children, sexual abuse of children· Children's right to social security
· Children's right to be protected from neglect, cruelty, and exploitation
· Moral integrity and ethics
Country· Rape and sexual abuse of women migrant workers
· Internal displacement of people due to human-made conflicts and natural disasters
· Women's right to protection and safe working conditions
· Right to get social service and welfare
· Right to fulfillment of urgent needs
· Children's right to education
· Respect for human dignity
· Protection
· Access to opportunities for personal improvement and social welfare
Region· Air pollution due to forest fire
· Human trafficking/undocumented migrants
· Right to have a clean and healthy environment
· Freedom from slavery
· Right to self-determination
· Accountability and cooperation
· Freedom/truth
· Self-determination
World· Greenhouse effect (ozone layer)
· Conflicts among nations
· Right to live and survive
· Right to life, liberty, and security of person
· Freedom/truth
· Respect for human dignity
Note: This is adapted from the Human Rights Curriculum Framework produced by the Indonesian delegates (Noor Indrastuti, Dewi Kuntari, Yosef Lewar, Daniel Bessie, and S. Belen) at the Southeast Asian Writeshop in Developing Human Rights Teaching Guides, held in Manila on 19-27 June 2001.

Stakeholders' Expectations

A pilot study produced four human rights education teachers' guides for primary teachers, junior high-school teachers, senior high-school teachers, and university lecturers.
   The study also produced a list or summary of human rights and a number of important United Nations human rights documents (declarations, conventions, and covenants) and the General Assembly Stipulation No. XVII/MPR/1998 on human rights. The drafts of the writings have been edited by KOMNAS HAM and will be published by the UNESCO Jakarta Office.
   In developing the new curriculum for primary and secondary schools, the Directorate General of Human Rights Protection of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, drafted the human rights education curriculum. The draft will soon be revised and published by the Curriculum Centre of the Ministry of Education.
   Despite these efforts, human rights education in Indonesian schools is facing some constraints, which can be identified based on analysis of the stakeholders' expectations.

TABLE 5. Analysis of stakeholders' expectations for the implementation of human rights education in Indonesian schools
StakeholdersMain expectationsMain weaknessesCritical areaStrategic actionsSupporting resources
ComparativeCompetitiveInnovativeHuman resourcesBudgetFacilities
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)Human rights education implementation in schools throughout the countryDependent on Minisnistry of Education(MOE)Lack of human rights educators· Initiate the training of trainers
· Publish human rights and human rights education books and materials
Initiate the development of human rights educators' networking?Provide experience for staff on human rights education??
Ministry of Justice and Human RightsHuman rights education implementation in school throughout the countryDependent on MOELack of human rights educatorsInitiate the development of human rights education curriculum??Establish the Directorate General of Human Rights Protection??
Human rights NGOsHuman rights education implementation in schools throughout the countryLack of human rights educatorsLack of experience and expertiseInitiate teachers training???Grant?
Curriculum Development Center-Office of R&D MOEHuman rights education implementation in schools throughout the countryLack of support from MOE Central unitsHuman rights education is not yet a priority· Pilot human rights education in schools and teachers education institutes in Cianjur and Kupang
· Develop human rights education curriculum
· Develop human rights education teachers' guides
· Participate in SEA human rights education teachers' guides workshop

Socialize human rights education to staff??
Directorate General of Primary and Secondary Education (Dikdasmen)
Human rights education is not a priorityLack of human rights educators??????
International and foreign country agenciesHuman rights education implementation in schools throughout the countryLack of continuing support for the piloting of human rights educationLack of support for large-scale human rights education dissemination· Provide human rights education books and materials
· Support human rights education pilot studies
??Invite human rights education experts to support human rights educationAllocate "emergent" budget for human rights education pilot studies?
Teachers and head teachersHuman rights education imple-mentation in schoolsWait for national policy on human rights educationLimited experience in active learning approach· Try to implement human rights education
· Participate in writing human rights education teachers' guides
Teacher education institutes (piloting institutes)Human rights education implementation in the institutesLack of support from the administration· Lack of human rights educators
· Lack of human rights education literature
· Limited implementation by human rights education trained lecturers
· Develop human rights education learning materials
Encourage smallscale research on human rights education????

Concluding Statement

Much have been achieved since the pilot projects on human rights education in schools started in the late 90s. There are now more stakeholders that contribute to the development of this education field. But still there is much room for improvement. The stakeholders themselves have to have the necessary resources (financial, material and human) to be able to continue the tasks remaining to be undertaken before human rights education in Indonesian schools makes an impact in the country.


Belen, S. 2001. "The Socialization of Human Rights Education in Formal Schools: Principles of HRE." Paper presented in the Seminar of Human Rights Education for Secondary Schools, organized by SOLIDAMOR in Surabaya, 26 November 2001.

Boedino and Belen, S. 2001. " Strategic Policies of Research and Developments on HRE in Formal Schools." Paper presented in the Consultation Meeting of National Action Plan on Human Rights Education, organized by the Bureau of Law and Public Relations, Ministry of National Education, in Jakarta, 17-18 November 2001.

Document of the Southeast Asian Writeshop in Developing Human Rights Teaching Guides, Manila, 19-27 June 2001.

Sadli, Saparinah, Soetandyo, Wignosoebroto and Belen, S. 1999. "The State of Human Rights Education (HRE) in Indonesian Schools: Developing a Model," in Human Rights Education in Asian Schools, volume