By  Dandy Koswaraputra IOL Correspondent

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“Currently, we have more than 1,000 Islamic green schools around the country,” Lendo told IOL.

JAKARTA –- A verse of the Noble Qur’an inspired Lendo Novo to lead the way of establishing Islamic green schools in Indonesia.

“The Qur’an says human beings must become caliphs on the earth representing the Creator in managing the universe,” Lendo, founder of the Schools of Universe, told IslamOnline.net.

Lendo, 45, established the first out-door Islamic school with the concept of educating people on environment in 1988.

“In the beginning, we established it only for primary school,” said the father of the four.

The goal was creating schools that aim at building Islamic character in students and making them appreciative of the nature.

Islamic green schools teach the students about the environment by direct dealing from the nature instead of the old-styled conventional method of listening and writing in classrooms.

“The students are being educated to plant trees and breed animals or insects in the field so we put the subjects of biology, physic and chemical together in the same lesson,” Lendo explains.

“So, our laboratory is the nature.”

In the Islamic Green School in the city of Bogor, students start their day by conducting the morning prayer followed by citing verses of the Qur’an in the open air.

“This is their daily activities before starting the class,” Yasir Amarullah Mubarok, head of the Primary School in Bogor Islamic Green School, told IOL.    

The school is two hectares of colorful gardened land full of trees and a number of traditionally-wooden buildings including small prayer room, computer and language laboratories as well as football court.

A group of students gathered around their teacher on a corner of the school’s yard to learn Arabic by naming things around them in that language.

Another group was busy planting new trees across the yard.

Yasir explains that these activities are part of the curriculum, which aims at making the students down to earth and better in term of creativity and bravery.

“We are introducing the concept of believing in God through nature.”

Future Seeds

In Bogor Islamic Green School, most of the lessons are held in the field, where children mix learning with appreciating nature.

Hanif Alfada Birantulang, 10, is too young to understand what Islamic green schooling is, but he can talk a lot about how he loves his school and the activities available.

“I like to be here because the teachers are helpful and having no gap with them and also we learn from the real cases in the field,” he told IOL.

Hanif said the school is also accommodating his hobbies of playing football, hiking and adventuring.

“Sometimes my teacher leads me to go down to the river and meeting with local people.”

Lendo believes the idea of Islamic green schools helped many in Indonesia, where the majority lives below poverty level, to find high-quality, inexpensive education for their children.

“Currently, we have more than 1,000 Islamic green schools around the country.”

Islamic schools, known as pesantrens, are popular in Indonesia as they fill the vacuum of state schools in the poorest, remotest parts of the archipelago nation.

There are some 14,000 Islamic schools in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation with a population of 220 million, in which more than three million students are registered.

Six years later, Lendo diversified the mission by establishing higher level education institution called School of Universe.

“It’s for senior high school, and this year we plan to establish a university,” he told IOL.

Lendo is now opening chances for any party that has the money and idealism to open such educational institutions through free-of-charged franchising.

“This is a seed of human investment that we planted for the Indonesian Muslims.”