Indonesian Education System: Liberal-Quo-Communistic?

Last week has been one of the most amazing ones in my entire life. Hosting more than 150 people from the westest to the eastest part of Indonesia as well as the Philippines was indeed a wonderful experience, and I was blessed to have an invincible team to undergo it altogether.

Ah. In case you haven’t heard, I was talking about Social Science Olympiads, a collective attempt by BEM FISIP UI to introduce highschool students to what social science really is and why it matters, as opposed to the current presumption of ‘natural science is way more appreciation-deserving’.

After having survived such pressure on a 24/7 basis, I finally had the time to sit back and engage in one of those pointless discussions I usually conduct with Johan. This time on our country’s education system. (Kindly help yourself with Google Translate for I’m preserving the conversation in its original language, although not in its exact wordings.)


Johan: “Menurutku ada yang salah sama silabusnya HIUI…”
Me: “Ohya? Apa?”
Johan: “Tapi aku udah tau Kak Afu bakal jawab apa: mestinya kan itu dipelajari sendiri…”
Me: “Emang pertanyaannya?”
Johan: “Aktor. Kita nggak belajar aktor hubungan internasional. Misalnya negara, ada negara apa aja di dunia aku belum tau.”
Me:Well, jawaban gue persis yang lo bilang tadi.”
Johan: “Tuh kan.”
Me: “Gini bukannya. Dari 12 taun SD sampai SMA, kita di-expect buat nyerep informasi yang given sebanyak-banyaknya. Tanpa boleh nge-scrutinize, tanpa boleh opinionated. Nah, barulah waktu lo kuliah, you are allowed to analyze and make your own conclusions.
Johan: “Tapi menurutku harusnya itu tetep jadi bagian dari tanggung jawab institusi. Sistem kuliah kita ini terlalu liberal, gitu loh. Kita boleh milih ilmu apa aja, bilang apa aja, tapi nggak di-equip sama informasi yang dibutuhin.”
Me: “Iya sih, apa ya bahasanya… Waktu SD sampai SMA itu kita disuruh bego, dicekokin ilmu tanpa boleh protes… Eh, tiba-tiba waktu kuliah disuruh bebas. Jadi kaget.”
Johan: “Iya, itu kayak nyuruh kita terbang padahal nggak dikasih sayap!”
Me: “Persis. Selama 12 taun sistem ilmu-nya sosialis…”
Johan: “…komunistik?”
Me: “Iya! Itu bahasanya! SD, SMP, SMA komunistik, mendadak kuliah disuruh liberal. Makanya jadi ngaco. Kalau mau liberal, ya liberal dari awal. Kalau mau komunistik, ya lanjutin terus sampai kuliah beres, sampai kerja.”
Johan: “Iya kan…”

In short, we came to a realization that Indonesian education system uses two distinct bases (namely ‘communistic’ and liberal ones), which sadly cut the continuation of our learning process. Since the inception of school–back in the elementary–we were used to indoctrination of ideas and knowledge while, all of a sudden, our universities set us free, unequipped with any skill to join value-free academic discourses, and pick the beliefs of our own. This, we argue, might disturb the acceleration to students’ information assembling process and is not the best strategy to opt at the status quo.

Me: “Kalau gue nanti jadi rektor, gue ubah semua sistem kuliahnya jadi lanjut komunistik aja.”
Johan: “Lah, nggak yang SD aja dijadiin liberal?”
Me: “Itu kalo gue jadi Menteri Pendidikan, which is less likely to happen.

Well, this afternoon I suggested this piece of thought to Kiki and she argued that highschool was therefore the transitional phase where the students could have their choice on natural or social science as their focus of study. Yet again, such ‘freedom’ was served under the constructed superiority of natural science, which leave these students clueless about what they’re ought to opt for. Dear young social scientists, let’s meet up and find a way to promote this beautiful branch of study, shall we?

P.S.1: As you might have recognized, I–like Plato–am a supporter of dialogue-based posts/books. I believe that the best knowledge is produced through the Socratic method of inquiry and debates between individuals, and thus the process, i.e. dialogues, is too valuable to be abandoned and unrecorded. Plato himself had worked on as many as 36 dialogues, most of which depicted Socrates’ philosophical conversations.

P.S.2: It is very interesting that Sundanese, the language of the tribe to which I belong to, happens to not possess a word for ‘hungry’. This might show their humbleness–or better yet, how rich their land is.

P.S.3: My friend Tama has a beautiful concept of scientists’ social responsibility in comparison to corporate’s social responsibility. The idea is, simply put, you owe the society a contribution in return of the knowledge you gain or the intelligence you develop. Because, you see, those complex sets of information attached in your formerly empty brain is a result of intergenerational endeavors. Ergo, you can’t just have them all without giving back to the society.

Good night!


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