Selasa, 24 September 2013


Indonesia’s Anticorruption Efforts Start in the Classroom
By webadmin on 12:41 pm December 9, 2011.
Category Archive
Anita Rachman

If you let a boy get away with stealing an apple, he might try stealing mangos next. And if he gets away with that, it will be harder to stop him from trying to steal a chicken the next time.
According to Muchlas Samani, the rector of the State University of Surabaya, corruption works the same way. Before people start stealing billions of rupiah, they try their hands at smaller acts of theft or dishonesty, often when they are young students.
“I’d say cheating [in school] is the gateway to corruption. Cheating and plagiarism,” he said.
Retha Dungga, from the Youth Voice for Anti-Corruption (Speak), said that although this cause-and-effect relationship is not absolute, there is a connection between small acts of dishonesty and larger ones.
“That’s why our anticorruption programs are targeted at 15- to 30-year-olds, high school and college students, and those who are getting settled in their jobs,” she said.
Speak, a volunteer group of about 30 college students and recent graduates supported by Transparency International Indonesia, organizes anticorruption debates and events in Jakarta.
“Young people at that age are usually still trying to find their identities, so it is important to fill them with the spirit of anticorruption,” Retha said.
That might require a whole lot of spirit, given the large scale of Indonesia’s current corruption epidemic. But eventually, Retha believes, if enough students know about the dangers of graft, the country can stop the practice.

A corrupt culture?
As the world marks International Anti-Corruption Day today, Indonesia cannot deny the major challenge it faces in eradicating graft.
Although in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index Indonesia’s score improve from 2.8 in 2010 to 3.0 this year, out of a maximum score of 10, antigraft activists have dismissed this progress as insignificant.
A recent survey from the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center also showed that public perceptions of corruption have worsened under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono: 91 percent of Indonesians believe corruption is widespread throughout the government, up from 84 percent in 2006.
More recently, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) announced that at least 1,800 low-ranking young civil servants, aged 28 to 38, have stashed public money — hundreds of millions, if not billions, of rupiah — in their private savings accounts.
Corruption has become so pervasive, it seems, that people tend to accept it as a fact of life or shrug it off unless it involves huge amounts of money.
Indonesia has reached a point when, according to Mohammad Asad, a social psychologist from Gadjah Mada University, people just accept the wrongdoings.
“Some are even proud that they could buy the law,” he said.
But Retha said the cases of corruption splashed on the front pages of newspapers and broadcast on television every day are not the only ones that should spark alarm.
Seemingly small infractions, such as a student who cheats in school or a teacher who comes late to class, are other forms of corruption that can later influence people.
“Or when they get a [driving] ticket, would they choose to resolve it in court or bribe [the police]? Young people can be both victims and doers,” Retha said.
Asad added that only when people understand that any kind of corruption is a form of crime and evil, can they slowly but surely begin to avoid it.
Government intervention
These small cases of corruption are worrying, said Dedie A. Rachim, the director for education and public services at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which is why the antigraft body also focuses on preemption and prevention.
KPK deputy chairman Haryono Umar said the KPK has been “building an [image] that corruption is evil” since 2008.
In 2009, the KPK teamed up with the Ministry of Education and Culture to spread the spirit of anticorruption in schools.
The antigraft body distributing modules for students from kindergarten to high schools, with information about nine important traits that KPK hopes to spread: honesty, caring, independence, discipline, responsibility, hard work, modesty, bravery and fairness.
Dedie said it is important to conduct intensive preemptive and preventive efforts targeted at young people, the future of the nation, through schools.
And the antigraft commission has more programs in store, such as the Anti-Corruption Learning Center it launched on Thursday that will hold twice-monthly public lectures and discussions.
Sukemi, an adviser to the Ministry of Education and Culture, said officials at the ministry are confident they are making progress on the school front.
The modules from the KPK, he said, have been integrated into religion and civic education classes, and teachers have been trained to seamlessly incorporate them into their lessons.
To directly test students’ honesty, many schools also now have honesty canteens, where students pick out their own food and drinks and deposit the money in a box. Sukemi said they were monitoring the program but had yet to fully evaluate its results.
“We are aware that government officials, including those that have been involved in corrupt practices, are products of our education. Thus, we have always tried to include good values in our education,” he said.
But it seems the ministry and the KPK have to do more. Bitari Dwi Dewantari, a third grader of SMAN 8 Malang in East Java, said she doesn’t feel like she has learned enough about anticorruption values in her classes.
Bitari said she wants a special class on the subject — an idea the ministry doesn’t think is necessary as it would only put a greater burden on students.
“Maybe once a week or twice a month, [there could be] a special class that involves discussions or sharing,” Bitari said. “I think that way anticorruption values and understanding would be better received by students.”
Ikram Azhar Hagi, from SMAN 34 Jakarta and a member of Speak, said anticorruption lessons are only given in the school’s civic education class, and he and his friends could not really say whether they have learned anything from it.
“One of the topics was transparency. But that’s it,” he said. “Honestly, I learn more from Speak than from what the school teaches on anticorruption.”
What Speak says
In Club Speak, Ikram said he gets to join a discussion every week on various cases of corruption.
Club Speak was initiated by a group of young people, mostly students, in July last year. It has more than 500 young people called “Speak agents” who have joined Speak programs, including its discussions and workshops.
In their “Our Action” workshop, for example, young people are encouraged to think about why people engage in corruption.
“Our opening questions usually are: When did you first cheat and when was the last time?” Speak’s Retha said, explaining that the organization asks youths to be honest with themselves.
Participants in the club also listen to song clips, including one from the band Morfem called “Pilih Sidang atau Berdamai” (“Trial or Bribe”).
In another exercise, members are also asked to go outside and take pictures or examine places that might have been corrupted.
“For example, sidewalks — we can hardly find one that hasn’t been corrupted by motorists,” Retha said.
The club also cooperates closely with the Intra-School Students Organization (OSIS). It is encouraged to be critical and transparent, for instance by publishing its budget for a school art night.
That way, Retha said, students learn transparency and can demand the same from their school administrations.
Anindita Kusuma Listya, a student from the University of Indonesia who joined Speak in high school, told the Jakarta Globe that the club’s programs have helped her understand corruption.
She said that she used to think corruption only consisted of big scandals, “but now, I know more … I am now become more careful in my actions.”
She also likes that Speak lets college students discuss future ideal jobs, encouraging members to only pursue honest jobs with companies who make an effort to support transparency.
Beyond school, students are encouraged to foster an honest relationship with their parents. According to Retha, asking parents about their salaries and questioning them if they buy something more expensive than what they earn is in line with the spirit of transparency.
“Knowing the family economy would help children understand, ‘Oh, my parents only have this much. I must not ask for more,’ ” she said.
Speak has tried to offer such programs to many schools, but only some have responded with support.
“We would love to work with schools across the archipelago. But not all schools are happy to have critical students who ask for the administration to be transparent,” Retha said.
Isharmanto, a teacher from SMA Kolese Gonzaga, said his school was happy to welcome Speak. He said the school believes young people are the agents of change that should only absorb good values.
Of course, he said, in being open to anticorruption movements, the school itself should be clean and transparent.
“Criticism is not a new thing for us. We have been transparent and open to our stakeholders,” he said. “Our motto is the three C’s: conscience, competence and compassion.”
Long way to go
Asad, the psychologist from Gadjah Mada University, said Indonesia needs dozens of years to change the situation because it involves a generation.
If the nation really wants it, he said, graft eradication efforts should be done seriously and immediately, not just through the education system, but also through parenting at home.
“Especially parents, because they are the ones who first introduce ‘what is right and what is wrong’ to children,” he said.
Sukemi from the Ministry of Education and Culture agrees.
“Building character surely takes a long time. You cannot expect people to change in a blink of an eye,” he said.

However, Asad said that although the next generation is already prepared to be better, the government should also work hard to improve the existing corrupt system.

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