Jakarta – The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace is asking Education, Culture, Research and Technology Minister Nadiem Makarim to take firm action against state schools forcing students to wear the jilbab – an Islamic female headdress which leaves the face exposed.
The request was made in relation to a large number of cases of late in which state schools in Indonesia have forced students to wear the hijab – a longer version of the jilbab.
"The forced wearing of the jilbab which is being allegedly done by state schools, both by the school leadership, teachers as well as education workers within them, obviously represents a violation and deviation of the authority held by officials in schools run by the state", said Setara Institute management division head Bonar Tigor Naipospos in an official release on Thursday August 4.
"Because of this the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry (Kemendikbudristek) must issue measured sanctions which have a deterrent effect", continued Naipospos.
Makarim is also being urged to immediately conduct a complete evaluation, including developing standard protocols on diversity at state schools. One of which is to optimise the role and function of the Government Internal Supervisory Apparatus (APIP), regional education authorities, school supervisors and broader society.
In its release, Naipospos also noted that cases of state schools forcing students to wear the jilbab are phenomena which continue to be repeated. He asserted that the problem conflicts with the role of formal education institutions which should be a places of study that are orientated towards the students' interests, peace and enjoyment.
Not only that, Naipospos said that forcing students to wear the jilbab violates citizen's constitutional rights of freedom of expression and beliefs. This also conflicts with diversity in Indonesia which must obviously be maintained.
"On the one hand, the enforcement of the wearing of certain religious symbols represents a violation of citizen's constitutional right to expression and belief in accordance with their conscience", said Naipospos.
"On the other hand, actions like this conflict with Indonesia's diversity which we must hold in the highest esteem, maintain and continue to strengthen", he continued.
Earlier, the Yogyakarta Education Social Concern Alliance (AMPPY) reported the case of a class 10 Muslim student at the Banguntapan Bantul State Senior High School 1 in the Central Java province of Yogyakarta who suffered severe depression after being forced to wear a hijab during the student orientation period in mid-July this year.
The 16-year-old student is said to have been traumatised after a teacher with the initial BK forced her to wear a hijab. She ended up crying in the toilet for an hour as a result of the treatment.
The student has since remained in her room at home and is reluctant to speak with her parents. On July 25, she fainted while taking part in a flag-raising ceremony and no longer wants to return to school.
A team from the Education and Sports Office (Disdikpora) claims to have questioned two teachers and the school principle over the case. The result of the examination was that BK claimed that they only suggested the student wear a hijab. (frl/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Setara Institute Desak Nadiem Beri Sanksi Sekolah Paksa Siswi Berhijab".]