Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry has urged Islamic boarding schools (pesantrens) to be more open and transparent in responding to criminal investigations to maintain public trust in the institutions.

"We are an open society, and despite how many efforts are taken to cover up a case, it will be revealed eventually,” Director of the ministry's Religious Education and Pesantren Department Waryono Abdul Ghofur said in a ministry podcast, which was followed from here on Monday.

He made the remarks in response to allegations of cover-ups perpetrated by certain pesantrens in violence cases.

He said that pesantrens that do not commit to nationalism and protecting the people and environment will experience a decline in public trust and institutional performance.

"If there is school violence, then there is something wrong (with the institution), yet there are a lot of factors (which can cause such incidents)," Ghofur noted.

Residents need pesantrens, he said, adding that the institutions have made a great contribution to the national education sector by expanding access to education for residents.

“Since, in the past, even before our independence, pesantrens have expanded opportunities for the people to access education," the ministry official said.

Pesantrens have consolidated themselves as autonomous institutions, as the ulemas who lead the schools have complete authority over the school facilities and the educational curriculum, he added.

Acknowledging the important role of pesantrens in national education, Ghofur said that the government is committed to providing facilities, assistance, and affirmative action for the institutions.

He also highlighted that the violence cases reported in some pesantrens do not represent all pesantrens.

"Perpetrators of criminal acts must receive their legal consequences as the case investigation will be undertaken by law enforcers," he said.

Related news: VP Amin calls for end to violence at educational institutions
Related news: Child-friendly schools should be far from violence: scholar

Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022