Tag Archives: school violence

Indonesia: Innovative Strategies for Tackling School Violence Issues W

Written by Saadia Haq (Author of The Human Lens)  and Eva Fatmawaty

Indonesia has seen substantial rise in school violence incidents and the government’s record of addressing this issue is debatable. The violence perpetuated within the premises of an educational institution has many root-causes. Overall, the parents, teachers, school authorities and friends have their share in influencing school violence.

Then bullying makes a huge factor where certain school going bullies try to dominate and tame other students resulting in minor to catastrophic results like last month’s girl child assault in religious class.

Every bully-child has a history within his own childhood growing years that influence his or her personality shaping into a bully. It is important to understand that a child’s first learning institution is “home” and primary teachers and role modes are “parents.” Also a father and mother are the first educators for their child at home. While becoming parents is natural relatively easier, good parenting skills are harder to learn and implement. Whatever children learn it’s a reflection of what they saw or heard from their primary teachers: i.e. parents.

The latest studies on School violence and research studies on child management have come up with mechanisms for discipline children by positive methods instead of the age old methodology of the using the rod. The “Positive Discipline” methodology is based in research on children’s healthy development and founded on child rights principles.

Positive Discipline
Positive Discipline

Positive discipline is not permissiveness nor is it about punishment. It is about long -term solutions that develop children’s own self-discipline and their life-long skills. Positive discipline is about teaching non-violence, empathy, self-respect, human rights and respect for others. It focuses on capacity building of parents and secondary role models of children i.e. teachers.

In Indonesia, adhering to child rights needs, the Positive Discipline programme was initiated in late 2012 and since then, teachers at 16 primary and junior high schools have participated in different training workshops. The approach has been done into partnership with UNICEF, Save The Children and Learn Without Fear Campaign, Plan International.

The program has also been introduced into the troublesome province of West Papua that has an appalling human rights atrocities and conflict record heavily censored by the Indonesian government.

At home, for parents this programme brings innovative mechanisms. How so? The Positive Discipline for parents includes:

  • It is an in-built mechanism as a universal program for the typical families facing typical challenges, rather than just focusing on “high-risk” families.
  • It is based in attachment, relationships and communication, rather than rewards and punishments.
  • It helps to build on parents’ strengths
  • It is encompassing all stages of childhood, from birth to adolescence.
  • It helps parents learn how to problem-solve across a wide range of situations, rather than prescribing “what to do when”.
  • It comes from a child rights perspective, so it focuses on enhancing mutual respect between parents and children.
  • It is originated as a culturally inclusive approach and mainstreamed as “parenting universals”.

In schools and classrooms, the students are under the supervision of their teachers. For the teachers, the Positive Discipline approach includes a variety of strategies:

  • It is s based on established pedagogical principles, as well as child rights principles.
  • It considers the long-term impact of the teaching relationship on children’s lives and attitudes toward learning.
  • It helps teachers learn how to provide effective mentorship within a safe learning environment.
  • It provides relevant information about children’s neurological, intellectual and social development from birth to adolescence.
  • It recognizes the importance of individual differences in children’s experiences, temperaments and information processing.
  • It focuses on problem-solving rather than rewards and punishment

Any form of violence has a very long-lasting and consequential effect on a child’s mind. And there is no doubt that parents and the teachers have a strong role and responsibility in guiding the children towards becoming positive persons and attain skills to behave in socially acceptable ways.

Through programs like “Positive Discipline” it is hoped that more and more parents and teachers will be enabled to guide children in many constructive ways that are counter strategies for the eradication of school violence from the society.  Indonesia has taken its initial steps that will help address the concerns of violence against children in a long run to come.



  1. http://resourcecentre.savethechildren.se/sites/default/files/documents/4871.pdf

Indonesia; Coping With Social Acceptance of Violence in Elementary Schools

Written by Eva Fatmawaty and Saadia Haq (The  author of The human Lens)

Violence has always been part of societies in some form or other and it’s not bound to specific geographical locations. And school violence, basically, is any form of violent activity that takes place within the premises of schools. Usually it is perpetuated by students themselves, school administration staff and teaching faculty and can take soft to hard forms through bullying, verbal abuse, brawls, physical fights and in some cases using arm shooting.

Violence within schools is not new to Indonesia, a country where societal norms make it acceptable the use of stick for disciplining children and youngsters. Recently there was a public outcry after a youtube video was uploaded focusing the incident of an elementary school student (Kekerasan Anak SD).

The video contained explicit footage of a female student being bullied by several of her class mates. She was cornered by the bully group of five assailants that kicked and punched her, while the rest of the classroom either ignored or watched on.

This incident sent shock waves within the Indonesian society and has raised many disturbing arguments. Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world, with one third making children. The Indonesian State Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Ms. Linda Gumelar, recently stated that the country is facing great constraints in mainstreaming child rights issues and there is a huge need for improving the capacity to deliver better protection of children.

The recent traumatizing event hints deeper issues at work here. The incident cannot be ignored solely in isolation because the alarming statistics of this year’s survey conducted by the National Child Protection Commission.

A high percentage of 87.6 percent of 1,026 children respondents said that they suffered from mental, physical or verbal abuse, ranging from name calling to beatings. More ever, the classmates were identified as the source of bullying by 42.1 percent of respondents. Then ill-treatment of school going children is also reported to have happened at the hands of the administration and teachers at a ratio of 29.9% and 28% of abuse is perpetuated by non-teaching personnel such as janitors and security guards.

The Indonesian government struggles to enact strong measures for better child protection during educational lives, but is clearly lagging behind. The State constitution says that “that every citizen has the right to an education and for that 20% of the state budget is allocated for making it a possibility.” But owing to the greater demands due to booming population, the State is barely making to the minimum standards for education, let alone putting anti-bullying mechanism in schooling systems.

Inside Indonesia, this harrowing gap is being filled by developmental organizations. One such organization is PLAN-International whose Indonesia based work is focusing on “Learn Without Fear Campaign.” It aims to end violence in schools and work on the betterment of engaging with children and parents for bringing positive life changes.

Violence is an outrageous violation of children’s fundamental rights. Now the question begets? What really happened to the little girl that was bullied at the SD Trisula Perwari private elementary school in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra? Where was the teacher at the time of the incident?

The elementary investigative team states that one enabling factor was the teacher’s negligence. How come this could happen during an Islamic religion lesson at the school? Does this mean that Indonesian parents should demand more checks to be placed on the religious teachers qualifications for adequate supervision for pupils. Otherwise, how could it be possible that a little girl’s beating went neglected and unreported till late?


Source citation:

  1. PLAN Indonesia Learn Without Fear Campaign
  2. National Child Protection Commission, 2014 Report