Following news that science and social studies would be largely scrubbed from the nation’s elementary school curriculum, the government has decided to make young Indonesians’ lessons even simpler by scrapping English language courses — all subjects said to be unduly burdening children.
“A national figure told me that his grandchild, who is an elementary school student, has to carry books in a suitcase because there are so many subjects they have to study,” said Musliar Kasim, deputy minister of Education and Cultural, as quoted by Antara news agency recently.
“Many students, when their teacher is absent from school, feel glad because they’re free from studying,” he said. “In the future, the system should be overturned. They should be glad to study.”
Musliar said that his ministry is drafting a new curriculum that contains only six subjects: religion, nationalism, Indonesian language, math, art and sport.
Besides scrapping science and social studies from the curriculum, as announced on Sept. 27, the government also intends to eliminate English language lessons. Musliar said that it is better for elementary school students to focus on studying the Indonesian language.
“They can understand English in six months,” Musliar said, as quoted by Tribunnews.com on Wednesday. “Even kindergarten students are forced to take English courses. To put it bluntly, it is haram [forbidden under Islam]. Feel pity on the children.”
Musliar said that in addition to Indonesian language skills, it was important to maintain art as part of the curriculum so children could learn cultural values and fortify children’s characters.
Science and social studies, the deputy minister said, will be integrated into Indonesian language classes.
“So, when learning the Indonesian language, students could study about thunder or rain while learning to read,” Musliar said.