Extremist teachings still find their way into state-school textbooks curated by the Education and Culture Ministry. (Antara Photo/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

Indonesia to Revise Religious Studies Curriculum to Stop Spread of Radicalism


NOVEMBER 11, 2019

Jakarta. The Religious Affairs Ministry says it will revise the current religious studies curriculum and ban textbooks that propagate intolerant views at state-run schools in a move to curb creeping religious extremism in Indonesian society. 

The Education and Culture Ministry is responsible for publishing textbooks for state schools across Indonesia. However, as the media have reported in the past few years, extremist teachings still find their way into those textbooks. 

"We are working on a large-scale production of new religious studies textbooks, to be completed this year," Komaruddin Amin, the director general of Islamic Studies at the Religious Affairs Ministry, told Suara Pembaruan in a recent interview. 

"These textbooks will be centered on moderate Islamic teachings. [The books will teach you] how to respect people of different faiths or even the faithless," Komaruddin said. 

Komaruddin praised teaching materials at Islamic schools, including pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) – often denigrated as "schools for terrorists," for already preaching religious tolerance.

State schools, however, are showing signs of rising intolerance.

According to Komaruddin, textbooks that promote religious intolerance will be banned.

The ministry will also train religious studies teachers to teach their students a moderate brand of Islam. 

The Religious Affairs Ministry is in charge of the country's religious schools. There are more than 82,400 Islamic schools and more than 250,000 Islamic boarding schools across Indonesia.

The ministry also oversees 17 state Islamic universities (UIN), 34 state Islamic institutions (IAIN), seven state Islamic colleges (STAIN) and 735 private Islamic colleges (PTKIS).

Komaruddin said all nationally registered educational institutions should be free of radical teachings.