Topics : “In accordance with the national vision and the constitution, the task of enlightening the lives of the nation should not be hindered by other determining factors,” the statement read.The omnibus bill on job creation would cause “the economy to become a new factor determining education by inserting educational and cultural materials into the economic [system].”The coalition argued that placing education in service of the economy would risk robbing the former of moral principles and cultural values.“The omnibus bill on job creation implies the forgoing of the values and characteristics that define culture-based education,” the coalition said, adding that the bill would result in the rampant commercialization of education. Read also: Lawmakers, academics want education issues ditched from job creation omnibus billAmong the signatories of the statement were Arifin Junaidi, the chairman of NU’s educational wing, LP Ma’arif; Muhammadiyah Higher Education, Research and Development Council chairman Lincolin Arsyad; Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) chairwoman Unifah Rosyidi; and Private Universities Association (APTISI) chairman Budi Djatmiko.NU and Muhammadiyah run thousands of educational institutions throughout the country, ranging from pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) to higher-learning institutions and universities.A number of academics and House of Representatives members, particularly those with close ties to NU, previously demanded that educational issues be scrapped from the omnibus bill, arguing that some provisions in the bill could be “counterproductive” to efforts to improve education in the country.The bill, currently under discussion by the House and the government, would amend a number of articles in Law No. 20/2003 on the national education system, Law No. 14/2005 on teachers and lecturers and Law No. 12/2012 on higher education.One article in the draft bill – a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post – makes nonprofit management of higher educational institutions an option rather than the obligation stipulated in the 2012 law. This article has attracted particular controversy.Critics have also raised concerns about an article in the bill requiring people to obtain a business license from the central government to establish educational institutions, including pesantren. Under the proposed article, those who fail to obtain a license may be fined up to Rp 1 billion (US$66,834). A coalition of educational institutions that includes the academic branches of Indonesia’s two largest Muslim groups, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, has voiced its opposition to the educational provisions in the omnibus bill on job creation.In a statement dated Sept. 15 and signed by 12 representatives of the groups, the coalition said that including educational issues in the omnibus bill – which generally aims to ease business licensing and attract investment – would risk attaching irrelevant baggage to education and could force it to disproportionately serve the demands of the market.Such a change would likely lead to a loss of academic freedom, the coalition maintained, as curricula would be modified to suit economic preferences.