Towards a Moral Community: Moral Education Strategies in Indonesian Schools



Moral education is a foundational yet contestable matter in any society. Debates about moral education help to define the parameters of true and right conduct in a society. The contestable nature of moral education curricula in Indonesia perhaps indicates the critical importance of character development in national and cultural formation and in the continuous creation and recreation of national identity. This study of the nature of moral education in junior secondary schools in the Yogyakarta region used a qualitative focus group approach. Teachers, lecturers, and trainee teachers were selected to be formed into five focus groups designed to provide a deeper analysis of the conflicting understandings of the nature of morality and of the expression of that morality in the curriculum. The findings showed several areas of contradiction and confusion in moral education in schools, including differences in religious and secular conceptualizations of morality and differences between those who wanted to promote or exclude intercultural understandings of morality within the state.

Keywords: moral education, character education, morality, Pancasila, Indonesia

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