Indonesia getting closer to 5-day school week
Indonesia is getting closer to instigating a five-day school week, as President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has decided to issue a regulation (Perpres) to protect the private after-school religious tutoring that a new schedule would endanger.
Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma'ruf Amin said the Perpres would be formulated not only by the Culture and Education Ministry, the Home Ministry and the Religious Affairs Ministry, but also by Islamic organizations such as the MUI and Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).
Their involvement was related to the protest against a longer school day they said would "kill" madrassa diniyyaa (after-school courses) for teenaged Muslims to learn about moderate Islamic knowledge, history and practices. With a five-day school week, they pointed out, students would have to spend more hours every day in class and would have no time to attend the madrassa diniyyaa.
"With the involvement of Islamic organizations, the problem can be solved. Madrassa diniyyaa will not only be protected but also strengthened. They are supposed to act as a buffer against radicalism," Ma'ruf said at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday.
Officials said the upcoming Perpres would revise the timetable for the implementation of a five-day school week. However, both Ma'ruf and Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy said that the revision would be subject to the President’s approval.
"It depends on the Perpres. We are currently formulating the guidelines with the Religious Affairs Ministry and other agencies," Muhadjir said. Previously, a Culture and Education Ministry regulation planned for the five-day school week to begin in the new academic year this July.