Tue, 08 Mar 2005

Schools sow seeds of corruption: Expert

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Schools are supposed to teach anticorruption attitudes to children from an early age, but in reality many of them often become fertile ground for children to learn how to be corrupt, an education expert laments.

"If teachers allow their children to cheat during the exams, they allow their children to learn how to be corrupt," explained noted education expert Mochtar Buchori of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), on Saturday.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the Stella Maris School in Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) on Saturday, Mochtar said many behavioral traits of both teachers and parents conditioned children in a way that would teach them it was acceptable to be corrupt.

He said that many parents forced their children to study in highly touted schools, even if it meant a bribe was in order.

He stressed that fighting corruption was difficult in the country, because so many people had learned that corruption was acceptable during their school years.

Mochtar also explained that it was very important for teachers and parents to instill honesty and integrity in children from the very beginning.

"It is difficult to fight corruption if we take part in creating fertile ground for our children to learn to be corrupt," he stressed.

The seminar on the need for education transformation, was organized by the Stella Maris school, which will begin an International Baccalaureate program later this year.

Mochtar stressed that teaching moral values was not only the task of religious teachers, but of all teachers.

He gave an example that a sports teacher should not only teach students how to play sports well, but also how to play with sportsmanship.

"It includes how to accept a loss. It is not only in sports, but also in politics and other areas. All teachers must try to instill values in students through their respective lessons," he added.

According to Mochtar, one serious weakness of most schools in the country was that they failed in the area of comprehensive values lessons for students.

"The majority of schools are simply content if the children have an adequate knowledge of specific lessons. Meanwhile, knowledge is only part of the value system that should be understood by students," he explained, while adding that students should be able to understand and implement their knowledge in a variety of situations.