Jakarta: Indonesian authorities are giving full rein to their anti-Western sentiments in the wake of child rape allegations at the Jakarta International School, introducing new requirements that would all-but force it to shut down.
The alleged rape of a five-year old expatriate boy by a large group of Indonesian cleaning staff in February and March has already prompted a furious bureaucratic response against the school which was founded partly by Australian diplomats and still has an embassy representative on the board.
The ministry shut down the preschool program in April saying it did not have the correct licence, and the immigration department and the religious affairs ministry both conducted raids.
But on Friday, Lydia Freyani Hawadi, Indonesia’s senior public servant in charge of early childhood and non-formal education increased the pressure, said she may not grant a licence for the preschool to be reopened in August unless the principal, classroom teacher and vice principal were sacked “because they were negligent in doing their duty” to protect the children.
She also said she would enforce a new decree that all teachers at international schools must be fluent in the Indonesian language, and the school’s curriculum needed to change, as did its ownership and name.
The curriculum — currently based on an American model, but which includes the International Baccalaureate — should be adjusted to the Indonesian national standard for local students, Ms Lydia said, and foreign students should be taught cultural studies.
The school should also be majority locally owned and should prove it has enough capital to run for six years.
"Most importantly, there will no longer be 'international schools'. They must change their names," Ms Lydia said.
News agency Antara reported that, if a school does not comply with the ministry's demands, its management could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 1 billion rupiah ($95,000).
Before Ms Lydia’s intervention, sources say government officials threatened the immigration status of a large number of teachers. The religious affairs ministry — whose minister was last week declared a suspect in the corrupt theft of money in trust for pilgrims to Mecca — demanded access to the campus to check the school’s religion curriculum.
In April the school was rocked by revelations that a teacher who had been there for 10 years in the 1990s, William Vahey, was under investigation over photographs of him sexually assaulting scores of boys, apparently while they were unconscious.
The Australian embassy helped found the Jakarta International School in 1951 and has a representative on the Board of Trustees. It is attended by the children of hundreds of western diplomats and expatriates as well as the children of well off Indonesians.
Disclosure: The author has two children attending the Jakarta International School.