Indonesian children will have to continue to learn about their respective faiths until at least 2035 despite concerns that religious studies was going to be dropped from the national curriculum.
Recently, there have been growing concerns among the religious populace that religious studies had no place in the Education Ministry's future plans for the national curriculum. The ministry failed to include the subject in an official document detailing its road map for the national curriculum from 2020 to 2035.
Education Minister Nadiem Makarim addressed the concerns during a hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) today, saying that the exclusion of religious studies was merely an oversight.
"I was shocked to hear it, that there was supposedly a plan to get rid of religious studies. People are so creative," Nadiem said.
"There has never been such a plan and we will not drop religious studies from our national curriculum. So there is no need to worry."
Nadiem added that his ministry is willing to include religious studies in the road map for further assurance.
This wasn't the first time in recent years that the idea of religious studies being removed from schools was met with immense backlash. In 2017, Nadiem's predecessor Muhadjir Effendy suggested that religious education be modified as an extracurricular activity, but the plan never came to fruition.
Religious studies has long been a major component of Indonesia's national curriculum, with schools required to provide separate classes and teachers to students from each of the country's six officially recognized faiths.
The religious education requirement in Indonesian schools has been criticized for discriminating against religious minorities and taking time and resources away from other areas of education that Indonesian students are severely lacking in.