ASIA/INDONESIA - Catholic universities close amid Covid-19 second wave

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 coronavirus   pandemic   education   university   catholic church  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - The second wave of the pandemic in Asia has also hit Southeast Asia with force, obliging all Countries to run for cover, reducing, among other public activities, those in the education sector. Indonesian universities have largely been forced to close their doors to their students again. The obligation also applies to Catholic universities: "Here in Indonesia, with regards to the pandemic, the situation unfortunately is not good", explains to Agenzia Fides Father Baskara Wardaya of the Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, in Central Java, one of the best known Catholic universities of the archipelago. Father Baskara, who teaches history, talks about the difficulties imposed by not being able to have students "attend in presence": "Teaching is more strenuous, but we are moving forward doing our best. All teaching on our campus now takes place online. . We are adapting to this new situation".
The same fate has befallen other institutes headed by the Catholic Church as in the case of the San Paul University in Flores, within the diocese of Ruteng. It is the first Catholic university in the area, opened on the island only last year. In fact, in Flores, there is an important Catholic presence that required the presence of a university. When a student tested positive for Covid-19, the facility had to adapt to the national legislation and switch to online teaching.
The situation of Covid-19 in Indonesia remains serious, with over 250 thousand full-blown cases and almost 10 thousand victims. In the capital Jakarta a new lockdown was absolutely necessary. President Joko Widodo who has just given his speech, in a "virtual" way, in front of an equally virtual United Nations Assembly. Widodo said the pandemic should be "an opportunity for global collaboration" while "what we see is a state of deep division and growing rivalry" that undermine "the pillars of stability and sustainable peace". The President reiterated the fact that Indonesia proposes itself as a "bridge" country (which it has always done also from an inter-religious point of view) to support a balance that is not based on force. He thus referred to the strong international tensions between the great powers, noting that "it makes no sense aiming at becoming the greatest economic power in a sinking world". (MG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/9/2020)