Kompas, page 11
In-school and out-of-school education plays significant roles in strengthening individual’s awareness of tolerance amid diversity. It is the time for education to search for local wisdoms to that it is not far from life of local communities. So was one of the topics in “Expert Discuss and Idea Exchanging alias Kopi Darat, Wednesday (9/14).
Head of Research, Development, Education, and Training of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Abdul Rahman Masud, said that since 2010 the Ministry has released survey on Religious Tolerance which highlights three main variables, namely tolerance, equality and cooperation. The highest scores of the survey (75.36 percent), or above the average, were found in East Nusa Tenggara, Bali and Maluku. Meanwhile, the lowest score was found in Aceh. The survey also found correlation between occupations, active roles in organizations, and education and tolerance.
According to Abdul, the higher the education of tolerance, cooperation and equality, the higher the harmony will be. Therefore, education is necessary to develop multiculturalism horizon of students. All stakeholders, including the majority, should wisely accept differences. Education plays significant roles in promoting one’s tolerance attitudes. The higher his/her education, the broader his/her horizons will be. Education on tolerance is important to avoid intolerance behaviors and violence.
A research conducted by the Ministry to college students found that educational environment has direct impacts on religious tolerance, meaning that positive educational environment can grow tolerance in college students and lecturers. On the contrary, religious education results have the least impacts, compared to other factors.
Ahmad Suaedy of Abdurrahman Wahid Center University of Indonesia quoted the research conducted by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and said that religious schools tend to make students intolerance in their thought, suspicious of other religions, and reluctant to accept neighbors of other religions. The cause can be exclusiveness of education, creating distance between realities in social life and classroom life.
He added that religious education, sociology, and other sciences taught in schools have been uprooted from what exist in the environment. In fact, many traditions, religious teaching and tolerance values which have been local wisdoms will allow students to have sufficient understanding on the meaning of tolerance.