The National Education Ministry’s plan to reconstruct the curriculum of religious education for students calls for the attention of all stakeholders, particularly because religious education has played and always plays an important role in the creation of an Indonesian identity.
As we live in a diverse country, students should learn not only about their own religion, but also about other religious traditions so as be able to engage with people of different faiths in better ways.
Therefore, an interreligious model of religious education should be implemented in public schools, which would improve upon the mono-religion model that aims to deepen students’ knowledge of beliefs, values and rituals of particular religions, as mandated by the 2003 Law on the National Education System.
Why interreligious education? The education system law requires schools to provide religious education for all students according to their religious background, and to be taught by teachers professing the same religion.
This model obviously closes the door to dialogue between students. Unlike other subjects that enable students to discuss issues with their classmates, our existing religious education model seems to prevent students from learning from their friends of different faiths. read more