Millions of children in Indonesian elementary schools may no longer have separate science classes starting in June, the beginning of their next school year, if the government approves a curriculum overhaul that would merge science and social studies with other classes so more time can be devoted to religious education.
A draft of the proposal was posted online in November and December for public comment. The government is analyzing the feedback and will meet with a team of experts shortly to develop new lesson plans.
Ibnu Hamid, an Education Ministry spokesman, said feedback showed that people generally agreed with the curriculum changes but were worried that there would not be enough time to train teachers and prepare new books. The comments have not been released to the public, however, and some critics question whether they truly reflect broader opinion.
Officials who back the changes say that more religious instruction is needed because a lack of moral development has led to an increase in violence and vandalism among youths, and that could fuel social unrest and corruption in the future.
“Right now many students don’t have character, tolerance for others, empathy for others,” Musliar Kasim, the deputy minister of education, said in an interview in November. He proposed the changes in September.