Cabinet Divided Over Five-Day School Week

Koran Tempo, page 1

The Minister of Education and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, will take further time to implement the eight hours per day education in elementary and high schools. He denies claims that he decided the regulation by himself.

From Muhadjir’s viewpoint, the Ministry already stated the plan for this new regulation at the meeting in the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture. Initially, he suggested that the length of school day be stipulated in a presidential regulation. However, after consultation with the State Secretariat and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights it was concluded that a ministerial regulation would be sufficient.

This Ministerial Regulation of Education and Culture Number 23 Year 2017 concerning the school day, provides that learning activity at school will be eight hour a day from Monday to Friday or 40 hours per week. Such regulation will be applied in the new academic year commencing July, but has received criticism from a number of parties, including from inside the cabinet.

The Vice President, Jusuf Kalla said that it was necessary to evaluate Minister Muhadjir’s regulation. In his assessment, such a regulation should not be decided in the Minister’s level but through a cabinet meeting. This was because the decision will widely affect a million or more students. He also worried about the necessary preparation of schools’ infrastructure to handle the increased study time per day.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs has expressed concern that the regulation could eliminate the existence of religious educational institutions. The Minister of Religious Affairs, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, hopes the regulation will have no negative impact on Islamic primary education (madrasah diniyah). The Head of Public Relation, Data, and Information Bureau of Religious Affairs, Matsuki, said that the Ministry of Religious Affairs would support should there be assurance to admit and strengthen Islamic primary education, Islamic boarding, as well as other religious educational institutions.


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