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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 08:04 GMT
School Day 24: Indonesia
Participants who took part in the Indonesian link-up

Students at three schools - Islamic, Catholic and non-faith - in Jakarta linked up to discuss the relevance of religion in their lives.

The schoolchildren get to know each other

Christian, Kanisius Senior High School: As a Catholic school we have our own chapel, and like other schools in general, we have sports facilities, like a football pitch and for basketball court.

Abhyasa, Kanisius Senior High School: We start school at 0700 local time and finish at 1330. But on Friday we finish earlier - 1130. How about at Darunnajah?

Fadlan, Darunnajah Senior High School: Our activities start at 0430 with morning prayer, then our school starts early at 0630. We finish at 1400 Monday to Thursday while on Saturday and Sunday, our school time finishes at midday. We don't have classes on Friday.

Aqsa, Darunnajah Senior High School: Another thing is, the classes in our school are divided for boys and girls. Other unique thing is we have to speak English and Arabic during school time. How about at Labschool?

Divya, Labschool High School: It's different from Darunnajah. The school is for boys and girls and there is no division. We also start at 0700 but we finish much later than you guys, at 1530. On Friday, we start at 0615 because we go jogging together, including the teachers - not only the students. We go around the school complex.

Question from moderator and presenter Fadlan

Four of the participants are from faith schools and one from a non-faith school. If we talk about religious tolerance, do the existing religious classes at school help to encourage religious tolerance?

Participants who took part in the Indonesian link-up
Conducting the debate
Christian, Kanisius Senior High School: At Kanisius, we have two religious teachers. One teaches Catholicism, and the other teaches ethics in general, including paying respect to other faiths.

Abhyasa, Kanisius Senior High School: We are taught how to respect differences between us, so we can respect each other.

Divya, Labschool High School: What we have in our school, I think, the atmosphere, helps us a lot in encouraging religious tolerance. During the Islamic religious class, for example, students from other religions are also studying their respective religions in different classrooms.

Komang, Labschool High School: I think the religious classes that we have tend to teach us only to learn verses from the holy books. Sometime we only think about pursuing good grades. What we need is to implement what we have learned from the religious classes.

Aqsa, Darunnajah Senior High School: At our boarding school, we tend to learn only Islamic teaching. So we don't know that much about other religions. What we need, maybe, is a class that encourages religious tolerance.

Question from moderator and presenter Fadlan

Is that why religious conflicts still happen in Indonesia?

Divya, Labschool High School: Maybe we need to have better understanding. Our school has an event, inviting students from schools from other parts of Indonesia, including faith schools. Through this event, we can make friends, and understand our differences better.

Indonesia map
Abhyasa, Kanisius Senior High School: Conflict happens because we don't recognise differences among us. At Kanisius, we are taught how to recognise these differences. For example, on Fridays, we finish school earlier - before midday - to allow our Muslim friends to attend Friday prayers.

Christian, Kanisius Senior High School: We are asked to make friends without seeing what religions they believe in. This is important for us young people to understand each other better.

Aqsa, Darunnajah Senior High School: At Darunnajah, we meet others with different religions through our extra-curricular activities, like sports and scouts. Through this, we could make friends with those of other faiths. If we understand each other better, I don't think, conflicts, like those in Poso will ever happen.

Discussion with Professor Ato Mudzar, Head of Research and Development of the Religious Affairs Ministry and Professor Suyanto, Director General of the Education Ministry.

Question from Christian, Kanisius Senior High School

Religious conflicts may have happened because we are not taught to respect differences. Maybe we need to have more classes on religious tolerance?

Professor Suyanto, Director General of the Education Ministry: To encourage tolerance does not mean we need to have more religious classes. The important thing is to implement what you have learned in religious classes to your daily life.

So, what we need is to recognise differences that we have.

Professor Ato Mudzar, Head of Research and Development of the Religious Affairs Ministry: In Indonesia, religious classes are designed to teach students to be true believers. We don't teach religious doctrine.

But what we encourage is that the students respect their friends from other beliefs. We encourage students from faith schools to visit each other.

Like you from Kanisius go and visit Darunnajah and the other way round.

The important thing is to have good communications and have joint events. The religious ministry has a programme for youth from all religions to have a youth camp, for example.


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