Children Not Tool for Practical Politics

Kompas, page, 12

Children are not the mouthpiece or an addition to the total number of masses in activities of practical politics. Their involvement in politics in fact violates their rights to protection, the opportunity to understand the freedom of thinking; instead it draws them to things that they should not yet experience. Commissioner of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) Maria Ulfah Anshor said adults around the child should not instill the concept of nationalism other than Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) and Pancasila (national ideology).

Maria said parents and teachers should not force their political ideologies on to children and make children as a mode of campaign.  The school should be a place for children to learn what it is to be a nation and a country, it includes plurality. She said KPAI together with the General Election Commission have signed a memorandum of understanding that children should not be included in political campaigns because it is against/ in breach of the Regional Head Election Act and the Child Protection Act.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Cahaya Guru Foundation, Henny Supolo Sitepu said, the obligation of parents and teachers is to change discriminatory narratives that surround the child into a narrative of peace and beauty. In the process, children learn about the power they have to digest information according to their pattern of thought.  Parents and teachers guide so that they could see the biased information from other angles.

Parents can engage in dialogue with children and ask their feedback on discriminatory narratives they see in social media to banners on the street.  Particularly teachers, they are actually not allowed to bring personal opinions on politics into the classroom. Teachers should in fact develop students’ independence of thought and students’ critical attitude because these two matters are the capital of students to become future leaders.

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