Saturday, October 10, 2009

Govt to roll out green curriculum in Islamic schools

Indra Harsaputra , The Jakarta Post, Surabaya

The Religious Affairs Ministry will next year roll out a
curriculum with more emphasis on the environment in Islamic
boarding schools, also called pesantren.

Ministry director of pesantren Education Chainuri said the new
curriculum would teach students not only about the Koran and
religion, but also about taking responsibility for the
environment, while fostering innovative thinking about
environmental protection programs.

"It is apparently not easy to raise awareness about the
environment in pesantren, because a number of Islamic boarding
schools regard it as a secondary issue," Chainury said, when
addressing a workshop titled "Environmental management and
development based on religion and social institution" at the
Sunan Ampel Islamic Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN) in
Surabaya recently.

"However, the curriculum based on the environment aims to change
the image of pesantren."

He added his office would coordinate with the office of the
State Minister for the Environment and academics at the Sunan
Ampel IAIN to draft the new curriculum.

The curriculum will also be implemented at madrasah (Islamic
schools) for elementary and senior high school students.

Bambang Widiantoro from the department of urban community
empowerment affairs at the Office of the State Minister for the
Environment said the idea to roll out a new curriculum focusing
on environmental issues germinated during a pesantren students'
jamboree held from June 15 to 20, 2009, at Jati Nanggor,
Sumedang, West Java, which involved hundreds of pesantren from
across the country.

"We also spearheaded the eco-pesantren program last year, after
which many pesantren started teaching environmental classes and
preaching healthier living at their schools," he said.

The head of the East Java chapter of the Muhammadiyah Islamic
organization, Syafig Mughni, welcomed the program as he
recognized that Indonesians were increasingly focusing their
attention on environmental issues.

"It's high time to implement the program, given our environment
has become a further cause of concern with deforestation and
other issues," he said.

Syafiq added that his organization was also designing a
curriculum focusing on the environment for Muhammadiyah's
Islamic schools across East Java, which would be implemented
next year.

"We are currently training teachers to run classes on the
environment. A number of environmental education programs will
be developed incorporating fiqih [Islamic jurisprudence], such
as the need to wash hands with soap, proper waste disposal and
producing organic fertilizer from garbage," he said.

IAIN Sunan Ampel rector Nur Syam said his university would
conduct further research on the importance of environmental
management and development based on religion, to promote the
environmentally-based curriculum in Islamic schools.

"We will publicize results of the research in a journal and
manual for pesantren students, teachers and provide training and
counseling at a number of pesantren that will serve as a pilot
project," he said.

The Jakarta Post Friday, October 09, 2009

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