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Children’s anti-corruption curriculum

January 13, 2010

Corruption has been a very popular topic in Indonesia for these last ten years. Since the political reform in 1998, people have been actively campaigning the importance of eliminating corruption in Indonesia.

If corruption is now a trendy topic among the adults, the concept of “corruption” and the efforts of fighting “corruption” are not well introduced to children.

Most parents think that the topic is too heavy for kids. But really?

We talked to Najelaa Shihab, Director of Sekolah Cikal, and asked her how important an anti corruption curriculum for kids.

She said that an “anti corruption” curriculum is very important for children because it shapes a positive attitude.

At Sekolah Cikal, this new kind of curriculum is implemented which emphasizes two main elements: integrity and accountability.

Najelaa explained that they don’t have a special class for anti-corruption. Instead, “This idea is attached to subjects in classes and outside-the-class activities.”

For example, she said, pre-kindy students playing in the field learn that someone has to put the needs of the whole class first. Or that when students of 2nd grade studying to creat advertisement posters are encouraged to make posters with a theme of helping others or honesty. All these are done through the instructions from teachers.

“Anti-corruption is implemented slowly for a long-term goal,” Najelaa said. She said the the younger kids learn about this the better for his or her development in the future.

Najelaa  said that Sekolah Cikal is trying to defeat the public opinion that thinks the issue of corruption is too heavy for children.

“Whether or not the subject is too heavy, it all depends on how we deliver it.”

Najelaa said that as long as the subject is delivered by relating it to the daily activities, children will be motivated to understand and implement.

She reminded that teachers have to encourage students to ask as many questions as possible.
To build the children’s enthusiasm, the concept of anti corruption is taught through many ways such as drama, case discussion, media investigation, and others.

“This way, our students don’t get bored.”

Parents’ involvement is crucial. Najelaa said that parents have to keep reminding their kids the importance of honesty since the early age.

“A parent doesn’t have to be angry or mad when he or she finds out that their kid is lying.” Instead, what a parent should do is tell his or her child that they respect someone telling the truth, whatever that is.

Najelaa said that as the child is getting older, he or she needs more challenges. Ask questions like, “Is cheating on exam a fine thing to do?” or “Can you bribe others to get what you want?”

Giving the children a responsibility is important too, such as giving them a pet to take care of.
Najelaa also pointed out that sometimes parents have to make them heroes to their own children. “They can tell their kids their struggle to fight the corruption,” She said.

At Sekolah Cikal, all students have an opportunity to be a leader in various activities. They can be a sports captain or a class coordinator. This way, students are used to understanding responsibility and all its consequences.

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