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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)


Science education in Indonesian religious schools


PI: Askuri Ibn Chamim (asykuri@yahoo.com), Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies
U.S. Partner: Joel Kuipers, The George Washington University
Project Dates: January 2017 - September 2020 

Project Overview:

5-429 Group Photo
U.S. Partner Joel Kuipers (seated, at far left) and PI Askuri Ibn Chamim (seated, far right) gather with participants in their Workshop of Experts in Science Education, held in Yogyakarta July 25-27, 2017 (photo courtesy of Dr. Chamim)
The underachievement of Indonesian science education reform efforts and the continued problem of Indonesian low scores on international assessments of science education at the pre-university level are matters of serious concern. Not only do these problems have implications for the future of Indonesia’s workforce, their continued neglect could affect the future of Indonesia’s democracy and international stability. Among the lowest scoring of the Indonesian student populations are those who graduate from the country’s religious schools, currently 20% of the student population. The study draws on best practices in science education and links them with professional development practices that are tied to curriculum units that will actually be used in classrooms. The objectives of the project are to (1) determine and describe how science is taught in Indonesian Islamic schools and propose an curriculum intervention that is aligned with the national curriculum; (2) apply the intervention in the classroom and describe and analyze its implementation; and (3) compare the intervention with control groups and report the findings. The work will involve significant partnerships with leading universities in three key cities in Java: Yogyakarta, Malang, and Surabaya. Enhancing the capacity of the Indonesian educational research community to describe and evaluate its own educational system is an important benefit of the proposed research.

This research will produce a model for the treatment in science education in religious schools. A key feature of the treatment program is to develop a learning method that integrates religious motivation with motivation to learn science. The results of this research will be disseminated to stakeholders of educational providers in Indonesia, especially operators of religious schools, to be adopted and developed in the context of each. The largest operators of religious schools in Indonesia are NU and Muhammadiyah, two major Muslim organizations in this country. Mr. Askuri and his team will establish cooperation with these two organizations to implement the science education curriculum integrating the religious approach as a result of this project. Furthermore, the organizations will be encouraged to develop this new approach further in their individual contexts. This project will also train dozens of researchers from various universities in Indonesia and build their capacity through workshops and interdisciplinary collaborative research. In addition, this program will also train dozens of science teachers in the latest scientific learning methods. One output of the project will be teaching materials that can be used by teachers for classroom instruction and by students for independent study. This teaching material will be created in open-source digital format, so it can be replicated broadly by other schools that are not included in the project.

Summary of Recent Activities

This first quarter of 2020 has been a challenge for everyone, including the PI Dr. Askuri and his team. Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) was completely shut down on March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PI had planned a national seminar for March 26 to disseminate the project results, but that had to be postponed indefinitely until the Indonesian Government lifts the current restrictions on travel and public activities. Most of the quarter had been dedicated to preparing for the dissemination seminar. Despite the lockdown, however, Dr. Askuri and his program manager did hold present their results to the director and associate director of the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies using an online platform, and the latter were pleased with the research results.

In the meantime, eight articles written by local researchers involved in the project are currently being edited for inclusion in a planned book. The current schedule calls for the editing process to be completed by the end of June so the full manuscript can go to the publisher in July and be released in August. Depending on the COVID-19 situation and associated restrictions in Indonesia, the PI hopes to reschedule his national seminar at UGM for August or September 2020.

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