Sat, 05 Apr 2003

House told to delay education bill

JAKARTA: Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) chairman Nathan Setiabudi repeated his demand on Friday that lawmakers delay the endorsement of the controversial national education bill.

During a discussion on the bill on Friday, Nathan urged religious leaders to sit down together and settle the problem.

Article 13 (1) of the bill obliges schools, including private schools, to provide religious instruction according to the faith of each student.

Nathan said the stipulation would affect the character of private schools run by religious foundations.

The House of Representatives' education commission chairman Taufiqurrahman said that the discussion of pros and cons in the current era of democracy was normal.

Taufiq, a politician from the National Awakening Party (PKB), added that all factions had expressed their agreement with the bill and that it was expected to be endorsed in May. -- JP