Thousands of NU members in Purwokerto rally against education minister
The Jakarta Post
Thousands of members of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest Islamic organization, flocked to Purwokerto town square in Banyumas regency, Central Java, on Monday, demanding that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo replace Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy.
They claimed the minister had neglected mounting calls for the annulment of his controversial five-day school policy.
Under the planned policy, which was temporarily halted pending a final say by Jokowi, all schools must shorten their students’ weekly attendance to five days a week (from the previous six days) and extend their hours to eight hours a day.
“Our demand is clear: annul the policy or else Muhadjir must be dismissed,” Maulana Ahmad Hasan of Nu’s Banyumas chapter said during the rally.
Thousands of Nahdlatul Ulama members and Islamic school students sign a large white banner during a rally at Purwokerto town square in Banyumas, Central Java, on Monday. They demanded the annulment of the controversial five-day school policy issued by Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy. (The Jakarta Post/Agus Maryono)
He said that the policy could prevent thousands of high school students in Banyumas from studying at madrassa diniya, or traditional Islamic schools, after school hours.
“How could they study Islam at the madrassa, which normally starts at 3 p.m., while under the new policy, school hours would end at 6 p.m.,” Hasan said.
Rally coordinator Taofik Hidayat said the demonstration was also joined by members of NU’s women's wings Muslimat and Fatayat, NU’s youth wing GP Ansor and Banser, the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement (PMII), as well as the NU Students Association (IPNU) and the NU Female Students Association (IPPNU). (bbs)
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