By: Isthiqonita

As an alumna of a pesantren in district of Garut, the writer is quite experienced in students’ daily life. Speaking about pesantren, there are at least five elements distinguish them from other institutions. Walsh (2002:8) stated those are: teachers (including scholars), mosque, students, boarding and classical Islamic books.

The Islamic scholars are the essential element because they play vital role in building, growing, developing and managing a school. The existence of a mosque is “obligatory” since it is the center of activity and education of students. The students are the main element because without them, the school doesn’t exist. The boarding is a group of buildings used by the students as their housing. The fifth element is the classical Islamic books, works of Islamic scholars about science of religion, generally labeled as the yellow books (kitab kuning). 

Teenage students are not unfamiliar with the yellow or classical books, some they read contain materials related to reproduction and sexuality. For example; Qurratul ‘Uyun, Ihya Ulumuddin, Fathul Qarib, Fathul Muin, Riyadhush Shalihin, Ahs Shilah fi Bayan an-Nikah, Adab Al-Marah, and so on. Those books usually analyze procedures of ablution from minor and major impurities, messages about rights and duties of husband and wife, also about their sexual relationship.

The yellow books do not discuss reproductive health and sexuality comprehensively. Besides, the Qur’anic reading session is carried out in classical way, which means there is no a Q&A session. What is said by teacher (or scholar) cannot be questioned by students as they are not given opportunity to ask.

Interpretation of the yellow books needs to be revised, especially its pertinency with current situation, for reason of which only a small part about reproductive health is analyzed. The yellow books are also perceived as gender bias, which subordinates level of women in society compared to men. The analysis of problem results more benefits to men rather than to women, especially the part which discusses practice of marriage and sexual relationship. Thus it is deemed necessary to deconstruct these thoughts in order to avoid gender bias and to equalize position of women with men. 

Apart from lack of understanding of students in the importance of reproductive health, there is no specific guidance from school manager either to help them finding solutions to reproductive health and sexual problem they might encounter. The health problem at pesantren still needs attention from all related parties, including the importance to get an access to a proper health service, a healthy attitude and environmental health. 

According to the research carried out by Isa Ma’ruf in 2005 throughout 6 pesantren in East Java, 64,2% students suffered from scabies, 73,70% had a bad hygiene resulted from wearing the same clothes or towels from one to another. Bad sanitation was also found at the surrounding. These things afflicted a lot to the reproductive health of teenagers.

On the other hand, the development of information and communication technology goes on rapidly, including social media. Unfortunately, the use of social media by teenagers is still limited for purpose of entertainment only, such as status posting, chatting or peeking out other people’s profiles. Another source information which could be accessed through internet is potentially degrading their moral due to criminal acts committed by teenagers such as dating rape and sexual harassment. Since pornography is easily accessible for all without guidance and control from their guardians, either their parents, teachers or caregivers at schools.

All this time, santri are considered safe from this misbehavior because they stay in a location full of religious ambiance. In fact, whether they are students of pesantren or not, they still need a guidance in using technology, and need proper knowledge about reproductive health and sexuality.

Those two problems encountered by teenage students as explained above should get a proper attention from people like parents, guardians, and school managers. If the problem of reproductive health and sexuality is still deemed taboo to be discussed, teenagers will fulfill their curiosity by using the latest technology to get information about reproductive health and sexuality in their own ways.


If we look at time management, pesantren have more benefits since students are always there for 24 hours. The school managers are advised to create activities continuously, for example discussions about reproductive health and sexuality. By using latest technology, students can be reoriented according to the pesantren’s policies, such as creating a discussion forum in social media about reproductive health and sexuality, so the use of technology by teenagers could be more beneficial. The information shared on social media should also be accessible for other teenagers. 

At the moment, there are at least 3.759.198 students educated in faith based schools and boarding. The students are found in 27.230 pesantren in every corner of the country with various types; Salafiyah (traditional), Khalafiyah (modern) and combination of both. At least, there are 14.459 (53,10%) of Salafiyah Islamic Boarding Schools, 7.727 (28,38%) Khalafiyah/Ashriyah, and 5.044 (18,52%) Combined Boarding Schools. 

If the whole school managers in Indonesia care and concern with our teenagers’ reproductive health and sexuality, the use of IT can be reoriented for a better purpose, 3.759.198 of teenagers will be safely guided. Their youth time will be cherished with activities supporting their knowledge about reproductive health and sexuality, that advantageous for their future. The use of technology by teenagers will be more beneficial, not by wasting time for unnecessary things, thanks to various subjects they can easily access from the internet. So they don’t miss any updates. Once more, what they need is a guidance, not a restriction. [] Isthiqonita


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