Military Program Set to Replace Student Orientation on Campuses i

A military trainer inspects participants of the 'Bela Negara' ('Defend the Nation') program as they stand at attention at a training center in Bogor, West Java, in the June 2016 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

By : Robertus Wardi | on 10:17 AM April 18, 2017
Category : News, Education

Jakarta. The government plans to replace student orientation  at universities with a military-run program, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Monday (17/04).

The minister initiated the program, called "Bela Negara" ("Defend the Nation"), last year to instill patriotism among the youth and shield them from foreign influences, which he said at the time included radicalization, terrorism and drugs.

"This is for shaping our national identity. Our identity is adherence to Pancasila within the framework of the Republic of Indonesia," Ryamizard said, referring to the official state ideology.

The new program for university freshmen would include classroom activities as well as field-marching and first-aid training.

The classroom activity would instill the values of Pancasila and aim to instill in students a culture that opposes corruption and radicalism.

Studies by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in 2011 and Islamic think-tank, the Maarif Institute in 2013, found growing support on many of the country's campuses for the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia.

The current student orientation program, known as ospek, has also been marred by violence. Almost every year, there are media reports of freshmen who are severely injured, or even killed, during orientation. These activities serve as a pretext for violent bullying by senior students eager to repeat the treatment they received during their orientation.

Ryamizard said he has discussed the plan with Research Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir and also received the blessing of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to move forward with the plan.

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