Friday, December 18, 2015

Nationalism in Education

       15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
(Matthew 22:15-22)

One of the clues of one’s nationalism can be found in the taxpaying behavior.  If one does not feel like honoring the nation where he lives, he/she would be reluctant to pay taxes.  Tax becomes a measurement of one’s allegiance to a nation.  The Jews in the time of Jesus, under Roman occupation struggled with this issue.  They felt that if they were to be loyal to the Jewish nation, it would be a betrayal to pay taxes to the Roman Empire.  On the other hand their life could be in jeopardy if they insisted not to pay taxes to Caesar.

The question that was raised to Jesus was under that context.  But that question was meant to trap Jesus.  They wanted to corner Jesus.  The question was a “Yes” or “No” question.  If the answer was yes it was lawful, meaning under the law of Moses, to pay taxes to Caesar, then Jesus would be considered disloyal to the Jewish nation and messing with the law of Moses.  For in the law of Moses tributes are to be given only to the true King, which is God Himself.  Now, Caesar had declared that he was God’s son.  And so as deity, the people under him ought to pay tribute to him.  But then to do so would be to acknowledge Caesar’s deity, and this is in contradiction with God’s law in the Scripture.

If the answer was no, then Jesus would be considered traitor under the Roman law.  Intentionally not paying taxes to Caesar was understood as an act of treason or subversive.  Such act was not to be left unpunished.  It was imperative for everyone under the Roman Empire to pay taxes.  This is the classic example of dilemma.  As a great influential teacher to the people, if Jesus were to give even the slightest indication to act contrary to the Roman law, then he would be found guilty and must be processed under the Roman law for trial and then sentencing.

His answer was very clever, stunning to His audience.  No one expected Him to answer in that way.  The Pharisees were almost certain that Jesus would have to answer yes or no.  There was no other way humanly speaking.  The question was set up in such a way to get someone down.  The question was designed to fail whoever answered it following its proper rule.  But Jesus was no ordinary man.  He answered unexpectedly.  Instead of answering the trap question according to the logic of the day, He tapped into the ancient wisdom, the logic of the Creation, the reasoning of the ontological order of things.  So Jesus schooled the Pharisees in the eternal wisdom of God.  It was like a preschool student asking a silly question to a Mighty Wise King of the universe, and the King gave an answer that defied the logic of the preschooler.

Let us take a look at the genius of Jesus answer:

19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

An answer that went beyond debate.  It shut the mouth of His enemies.  Not in a bad way, but in the most elegant way.  Nobody could find the flaw of His answer.  His answer was final.  It pointed to the core of things.  The possessive property was evoked.  The coin that was used to pay taxes had a clear image and inscription that belonged to the ruler of the country, Caesar.  Therefore the undeniable force of possession could not be rejected, be it logically or practically.  Everybody knew the meaning of image in the ancient time.  When a ruler of a nation wanted his subjects to know whose land and territory it was, he erected an image of himself for everybody to see.  And then he carved his image in something that was widely used by his subjects in order to claim ownership of the land.  The coin was the logical choice for every ruler to utilize.  It was very practical and it spread very quickly to every corner of his territory.

            And so the most elegant answer to give to Caesar what belonged to Caesar was the perfect answer to the tricky question.  Lawful?  By whose law?  By the law of Rome?  By the law of Moses?  And by whose interpretation of the law, be it the Roman law or the Mosaic law?  By the ontological principle of possession, give to Caesar what belonged to Caesar could not be argued back.  No matter how hard people would try, the fact that the image and inscription of Caesar was on the coin provided the perfect platform for returning the possession of Caesar back to the rightful owner.  Even the Mosaic law could not deny that.  Take a look at Exodus 23:4 that says:

“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him.

So yes, Caesar’s possession, printed on the coin to pay taxes, must be returned to Caesar.  Jesus’ answer was accurate.  He nailed it on the head.

            But it was not the end of His answer.  One last line.  One last nail on the coffin.  That last line sealed it.  Give to God what belonged to God.  Surprise surprise.  Giving back to Caesar what he rightfully owned was mandatory.  Having the coins in their pocket was like they owed Caesar for using the coin belonging to him.  So it was proper to return it to Caesar.  But they also owed something to God.  This last line was theologically deep.  It went back to the Creation account.  Right at the very beginning, on day six of creation, God created humans in a special way.  He put His image and inscription within the body and soul of man.  So every human being owed their life to God.  They ought to return it back to the rightful owner.  And God was the rightful owner.  There was no contest there.  God was the creator and he claimed ownership ontologically.  So in the spirit of giving back things to the rightful owner, the people were then reminded that they too ought to give back themselves to God as the rightful owner of their body and soul.

            A trick question was replied with the ultimate teaching of possession, identity, right, duty, and allegiance.  And this answer of the Son of Man is important for us to understand nationalism.  Our notion of nationalism has been distorted by the way of the world.  A big rift between nations is emphasized even further by the pain, suffering, disaster, etc. that followed war, raid, occupation, colonization, domination, and so on.  Hatred grew deeper as the divide grew wider.  And so nationalism becomes distorted into focusing only on the race, ethnicity, territory, citizenship of a country.  Our understanding of nationalism then has failed to comprehend that we are all humans, created in the image and likeness of God.  The hatred toward other nations that is ingrained within nationalism numbs our senses that naturally prompt us to embrace people of other nationalities.  With such notion we then compete between nations to get ahead of other nations.  To pride our own nation above others.  To get our nation up high above on the top of the pyramid while at the same time shoving others down to the bottom of the pyramid.  We then forget that we are citizens of the world before we are citizens of our tiny nation.  And most importantly we are actually citizens of God’s kingdom.

            Now, consequently, when we honor our nation, we ought to take a stand that we are returning what is due to our nation.  We owe it to our nation our duty.  Just like the people owed it to Caesar that they had to pay taxes to him for it was his right to receive taxes and their duty to pay.  But this duty and allegiance must not trump our duty and allegiance to the One who owns our body and soul.  Nationalism, if taken to the extreme would blind our soul to the fact that we consider other nations as our enemies.  Extreme nationalism destroys.  Therefore, each nationalistic tendency must be guarded with the understanding that is based on Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees in Matthew 22.  We mustn’t be blinded by nationalism so that we do whatever it takes for the sake of putting our nation on the top of the pyramid.  That’s not it.  We render to our nation what is proper for us to give back.  If our nation asks us to kill the innocents, then it is within our duty to refuse because there is a greater law that governs our life as we owe to God our body and soul.  It does not matter whether the people we are ordered to kill are of different nationalities, races, or ethnicities.  All humans belong to God.  They are created in the image and likeness of God.  We cannot just run around killing people of other nations just because our nation says so.  We cannot even undermine people of other nations just because our nation happens to be stronger at this point in time.

            Secondly, we mustn’t also consider our nation as if we owe our life to it.  So that we put our nation first above everything else.  That is not at all what Jesus is teaching.  Yes we do honor our nation, but above it there is God who must be honored more than our nation.  Nationalism must not be blind that we sacrifice all that is right and good and just only for the sake of the survival or the honor of our nation.  There are many examples in the world that projects blind nationalism of this kind.  A very good illustration is captured in the movie “A Few Good Men.”  This movie was released in 1992, starred by top Hollywood artists, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, and Jack Nicholson.  I will not retell the story here, but it would suffice to say that there is an issue of the justification of murder in the name of national security.  In this case nationalism is regarded to be above the law, and so killing someone would be justified as long as it is for the sake of the nation.  Many kind of indecent acts, even unethical conducts would then be permitted, all in the name of nationalism.  For sure that is not what God desires.

            God is to be honored above anything else.  Saul was rejected by God when he dishonored God by performing an act that was only lawful for a priest to do.  For Saul it was a matter of national security.  The fate of Israel was on the line.  The Philistines were ready to crush Israel.  And with Saul were exhausted soldiers, who had lost any taste of war because they did not think that God was with them.  One by one from the Israelite army left and Saul was nervous.  So he broke God’s law.  Saul put his nation above God.  Nationalism wise, Saul was doing excellently.  But when he did that he sacrificed God for the sake of nationalism.

            NT Wright wrote a book called “How God Became King,” and in that book he elaborated the often missed notion of Jesus as King.  Christians often focused too much on Jesus’ redemptive work and consequently they forgot to do a just treatment on the kingship of Jesus.  Wright is right that Yahweh became king in Jesus Christ.  Isaiah 9:1-7 speaks about the promise of God that a Son of David will ascend into the throne.  But this Son will reign forever and ever with righteousness and justice.  His kingdom will never end.  And the names given to Him is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.  He is no ordinary human.  He is no ordinary king.  He is much more than just a son of David.  He is also the Son of God.  He is the King of kings.  He is God himself.  And so when Jesus starts his ministry, the first message He proclaims is that of the Kingdom of God.  His teaching is actually about the Kingdom of God.  When He casts out demons, it’s the establishment of God’s Kingdom.  He heals the sick, He feeds the hungry, He forgives sin, and He resurrects the dead, for in the glorious Kingdom of God – the new heaven and earth – there is no more sickness, pain, suffering, hunger, sin, and death.  His works is a foretaste of what is coming.  Already and not yet.  The Kingdom of God collides with the kingdom of the world, the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of man.  But the Kingdom of God will prevail.  For even when the Son of God is murdered, He does not remain dead.  He rises again in glory.  This is the gospel message.  As Christians we are called to be citizens of God’s kingdom.  This is the first calling of every human.  First and foremost we are called to be citizens of God’s kingdom.  This mystery is revealed by God through His Holy Scripture.  When God created the universe, He was establishing His kingdom.  To God’s kingdom we owe our first allegiance.  Therefore, when we talk about nationalism, we must establish first our allegiance to the Kingdom of Heaven, to God who is King.  And this we must do before we talk about our nation in this physical world.

            Why I must insist on our citizenship of the Kingdom of God first?  It is because the collision of God’s kingdom with the kingdom of the world results in the citizens of God’s kingdom being persecuted.  When persecution comes, our allegiance is tested.  It will be obvious where our allegiance actually lies.  Is it for God’s kingdom or for the kingdom of the world?  Without trials it would not be clear where our true allegiance is.  Trials, tribulations, disequilibrium, uncover our masks that we put on, so that our true self comes out.  Jesus says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).”  The desire of God is for His people to put God first and everything else next.  By implication then, it is also the desire of God for His people to put the Kingdom of Heaven first and everything else next.

            The teaching of nationalism then must have the teaching of the Kingdom of God as the pre-requisite.  This sequence is important to make a statement of the priority of the Kingdom of heaven.  Impression is important especially for little kids.  What comes first will be remembered first.  If the impression is proper, then it will not be forgotten.  Then when the study of nationalism (of our nation – where we are born or where we are citizens) comes their way, they would not abandon their first allegiance to the Kingdom of God.  As we know, nationalism education is commonly quite intense.  Since the rise of kingdoms in the world, kings and princes had found a way to strengthen their kingdoms through educating their subjects to honor their country, their kings, to be loyal to them, and to love them unconditionally.  In the world of formal education, John Dewey made it even clearer and then became the model of modern education philosophy worldwide that education has within it the main goal to produce desirable citizens of a nation.  The national constitution will become the foundation of the educational goal for making desirable citizens.  And so the quality of the education will depend greatly on the quality of the national constitution.

            As I am an Indonesian, I will discuss about what I think as a good policy for Indonesian Nationalism Education based on the Indonesian Constitutional Foundation: Pancasila.  Here it is:

The Policy for the Underlying Philosophy: the Divine Education

            Based on the first principle (Sila I) in the Pancasila, that is “KeTuhanan yang Maha Esa” (Belief in the One God), our education must also be based on the belief of God.  Consequently, any kind of education that betrays such belief should be excluded from Indonesian education.  Moreover, the drive of the secularization of education must be stopped at once in Indonesian education.  Therefore, Indonesian education must find its foundation in the faith in God.  Faith-based education ought to be the norm.  Teaching Indonesian people to truly know God is the heart of the task of education in Indonesia.  And since humans are created to be like God, then it is imperative to teach them to lead a godly life.  All this can only be achieved when Indonesian people learn to put their faith in God.

1.      Inserted in the vision and mission statements of all schools in Indonesia is the faith in God
2.      All Indonesian schools are to take seriously the teaching of the faith in God, which must be reflected in the explicit curriculum and should be the overall spirit of the implicit curriculum
3.      The worship of God becomes the ultimate goal of all education in Indonesia and consequently teaching and learning must proceed as the act of honoring God
4.      A holistic life and peaceful living are to be taught and learned by all Indonesian so they may enjoy life abundantly and bless all others in the world
5.      The acquisition of knowledge is to be dedicated to the fulfillment of the will of God, that is reflected in the goodness of humanity and the service to humanity
6.      The training of godly character such as love, justice, righteousness, holiness, wisdom, peace, etc. must encompass the entire process of education
7.      All aspects of life, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, physical, psychological are to be touched accordingly in education in order to bring up the true nature of human being as the image bearer of God who must live a life as intended by God

The Policy for the Underlying Philosophy 2: the Education of Man

            Based on the second principle (Sila II) in the Pancasila, that is “Kemanusiaan yang Adil dan Beradab” (the just and cultured humanity), our education must strive to educate man to be man.  As Rousseau pointed out, the noble task of education is not to educate man to be lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc. but to teach them to be true man according to their true nature.  Pancasila’s second principle lays the foundation for the humanity that we desire, just and cultured.  The understanding of justice is crucial for all people.  Since birth, humans must be taught to act justly.  They need to learn to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil.  This kind of education cannot be exempt from any human education.  The second one is to educate man to be cultured.  This is not the education of culture, but this is to make man cultured.  In order to do so, the education of values and ethics become normative.  The final goal is true man.

1.      The study of the universal values and ethics is to be conducted in all education for all level
2.      All people of Indonesia are to be raised knowing right and wrong, good and evil, and choose the right and the good
3.      All Indonesian people are to learn the way of life that promotes love and mercy
4.      The education of wisdom becomes the core of all teaching and learning
5.      At the end of the tunnel, all Indonesian people must be able to practice wisdom and be ethical people

The Policy for the Underlying Philosophy 3: The Principle of Unity

            Based on the third principle (Sila III) in the Pancasila, that is “Persatuan Indonesia” (the unity of Indonesia), our education ought to lead learners appreciate diversity and strive for unity in Indonesia.  Therefore, learners are to learn honor and respect. For through honor and respect we may stand in honor of our own uniqueness and be respectful of other people’s differences.  In addition, Indonesians are to learn peace.  Peace is much more than just cease-fire.  Peace must include the flourishing of human life.  As human beings, we ought to seek and support other people’s prosperity.  If each does this, than all people will be prosperous and live in peace.  The final goal is honorable, respectful, and peaceful people of Indonesia.  Educating people to be peacemaker is the mission in this underlying philosophy.

1.      True honor and respect must be learned and exhibited at all times
2.      True peace must be studied and chosen over fake peace
3.      The understanding of the diverse cultures of Indonesia must be achieved at all level of education
4.      Extensive knowledge of what constitutes unity is to be explored and studied carefully at all level of education

The Policy for the Underlying Philosophy 4: the Citizenship Education

            Based on the fourth principle (Sila IV) in the Pancasila, that is “Kerakyatan yang dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan” (citizenship life guided by wisdom within the dialogue of people’s representatives), our education should focus on the honor of being Indonesian citizens that are wise through peaceful dialogue.  The honor of living as Indonesian citizens is to be cultivated to all Indonesians.  This requires the transformation of Indonesia as a whole aiming at the dignity of Indonesia as a sovereign nation and honorable people.  Moreover, the kind of education that is required here is the education of wisdom and discretion.  Impulsiveness, carelessness, laziness, and neglectfulness must be gradually reduced and eventually taken out completely from among Indonesian ethos.

1.      Meaningful dialogue and critical decision require all parties involved to be wise and able to think clearly
2.      Educate Indonesian people to think critically and carefully
3.      The representatives of the people must be those with high intelligence and wise heart, who do not merely directed by the demand of the people but more importantly know truly the need of the people and the nation
4.      Educate Indonesian people to dedicate their effort, among other things, for the goodness of the nation, and thus be good citizens who will maintain peace and strategically develop the resources for the prosperity of the entire Indonesia

The Policy for the Underlying Philosophy: the Education for Justice

            Based on the fifth principle (Sila V) in the Pancasila, that is “Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia” (social justice for all people of Indonesia), our education must reflect and realize the administration of justice.  A country will not stand without justice.  Corruption must be prevented at all cost.  Peace may only be maintained when justice is done.  With no justice mistrust grows like cancer.  When mistrust matures, violence rules.  When violence storms we will reap social disasters.  We all don’t want such horrible things to happen in our beloved Indonesia.  Therefore, social justice must not be taken lightly, but instead it must become one of the underlying philosophies of Indonesian education.

1.      Indonesian education must serve as the center of social justice study, which will breed the praxis of social justice in the entire Indonesia at all social strata
2.      Indonesian leaders, especially, must be educated in such a way that transforms them to become people that promote and practice social justice
3.      The mind and the heart of the people must be taught to focus on the practice of good deeds to others
4.      Schooling must not promote self-serving ambitions for gaining riches and power for themselves
5.      Schooling must promote vision and mission for the sake of the goodness of others and for the service of humanity
6.      Indonesian education is responsible for the internalization of acting justly in all circumstances for all the people of Indonesia
7.      The final profile of Indonesian people is full awareness of social justice for all people of Indonesia, where if there is social injustice they will strive to straighten it, especially those who have the power and resource to do so

But all that pretty concept would not work properly without a good educational architecture supporting it.  What I mean by educational architecture is not the built environment, although built environment certainly is important, but more of the design of the overall educational enterprise in Indonesia which looks even into the educational infrastructure and practice.  There are some more policy suggestions for Indonesian education that would support the Indonesian Nationalism Education based on Pancasila that I would like to propose here.

The Policy for the Elements of Education

            There are three most important elements of education that must be carefully prepared if excellent education is to be achieved.  Based on the Pancasila and the educational policies derived from it, all three elements of education must be nurtured properly.  The three elements of education are: 1) Teacher, 2) Student, and 3) Curriculum.

Guidelines for Teacher
1.      Believe in God and actively involved in the good and ethical works for the goodness of mankind as the implementation of the faith in God
2.      Purposefully teach for the betterment of mankind by:
§          Teaching people the good way of life by integrating faith and knowledge
§          Mastering knowledge according to the respected discipline and teach their students to master and enhance knowledge
§          Guiding students to the application of theories in real life
§          Modeling service to their students so all students will learn to serve others
§          Living a true life of righteousness, love, mercy, and wisdom
3.      Understand Indonesian culture and able to implement unity in diversity
4.      Educate the people the principles of good and effective governance for the goodness of the nation
5.      Implement justice and righteousness in all aspects of life and focusing on caring for the less fortunate and the poorest of the poor

Guidelines for Student
1.      Believe in God and willingly learn to be involved in the good and ethical works for the goodness of mankind as the implementation of the faith in God
2.      Highly motivated to learn and study for the betterment of mankind:
§          Learn the good way of life by integrating faith and knowledge
§          Learn to master knowledge and strive for the enhancement of it
§          Learn to apply theories into solving real life problems
§          Learn to serve others sincerely
§          Learn to live a true life of righteousness, love, mercy, and wisdom
3.      Eager to learn Indonesian culture and willing to support unity in diversity
4.      Strive to learn the principles of good and effective governance in order to lead the nation with wisdom and justice
5.      Learn the application and execution of justice and righteousness in all aspects of life, particularly its application for the less fortunate and the poorest of the poor

Guidelines for Curriculum
1.      The study of theology and its practical application for the goodness of humanity
2.      Directed toward the improvement and betterment of humanity through:
§          The study of the good way of life the integration of faith and knowledge
§          The study of knowledge mastery and its enhancement
§          The study of problem solving skills through the application of theories in the real life
§          The study of service to others
§          The study of righteousness, love, mercy, and wisdom for the building up of students’ character in life
3.      The study of Indonesian culture and the idea of unity in diversity
4.      The study of the principles of good and effective governance for the purpose of educating servant leaders who will lead the nation with wisdom and justice
5.      The study of the application and execution of justice and righteousness in all aspects of life, particularly its application for the less fortunate and the poorest of the poor

This policy must also be supported by the policy for the simplicity and clarity of education.  It is explained in the following.

The Policy for a Simple and Clear Education

            If strong education is the aim, then the basic foundation must be strengthened.  Education enterprise today is filled with too many fancy methods and standards that somehow overburdens and overshadows the most importance knowledge and skills.  With too many fancy methods and standards being implemented, students don’t achieve mastery of the necessary skills and knowledge, but instead they are caught up in the peripherals.  It is imperative, therefore, for educators to make education simple and clear for students to dwell in the most important matters.

1.      Simplify and clarify curriculum by identifying the most important knowledge and skills per subject matter (for example, if understanding of English language is to be achieved, then the simple and clear study by reading and writing ought to be employed to provide a solid foundation of English language skills and knowledge)
2.      Simplify and clarify curriculum by trimming down the unnecessary standards and methods (for example, if understanding of English language is to be achieved, then the study of grammar might need to be trimmed down since it hampers understanding of English language)
3.      Simplify and clarify assessment in order to improve education.  If improvement of the students’ skills and knowledge is the aim, then summative assessment is not the way to go
4.      For simplifying and clarifying assessment, formative assessment is a necessity in this case.  A simple and clear check of understanding here and there will do the trick for formative assessment to be effective.  All schools and universities should adopt formative assessment and implement its practice in all level of teaching and learning endeavor
5.      Simple and clear teaching method is required.  Fancy teaching methods often only impress supervisors but never get to the heart of teaching and learning.  Put it simply, if a teacher cannot teach a subject simple enough to make students understand, then the teaching method will need to be simplified and clarified

All of the above policies would be greatly hampered if the political decisions of the government intervene with the progress of Indonesian education.  And so I have thought of the better way Indonesian education can be done.  I will describe it in the next proposal of policy.

The Policy for the Autonomy of Education: Depoliticizing Education

            Naturally, education lasts forever while political direction lasts only a minimum of one period and the maximum of two periods of the elected government presiding.  The effect of any educational policy can only be felt after a period of time much longer than the two periods of the elected government.  In order to avoid wasting all the efforts in education and confusing the people due to the premature cancellation of educational policies by the next elected government, then education must be separated from politics at all cost.  Therefore, the education enterprise should be made independent and autonomous guarded and guided by the vision and mission of the elected government.  All its rights and responsibilities must submit under Indonesian law.  Autonomy does not mean that education can do whatever they want, but that they are not interfered by politics.  Education is independent in its policies but must be responsible to the people through the House of Representatives.

1.      Set up a system that will accommodate the autonomy of Indonesian education
2.      Set up a governing body of the independent education enterprise to manage Indonesian education that is free from political biases
3.      Based on the Indonesian Constitution (UUD’45), then Indonesian education must be recentralized.  This centralization must be organized under the educational rules and regulations signed and authorized by the House of Representatives
4.      Set up the educational rules and regulations
5.      The education governing body is to devise a short term and long term plan of education following the need and the vision mission of the Republic of Indonesia
6.      Set up independent accreditation agencies that focus on the excellence of national education – more than one agencies per educational level (university, secondary, primary) are needed for check, balance, and accountability purposes

Yet another issue needs to be dealt with.  Even though the new direction of the national education hopes to consider national exams (Ujian Nasional or UN) as non-determinative anymore, the stigma it carries and the structure that has been built for so many years to support it are still lingering upon the practice of Indonesian formal education.  Besides, for many schools across Indonesia UN is actually needed to bring up their standard to what is desirable for the national education goal.  And so I have written a possible solution for this dilemma.

The Policy for National Exams: 1 Education 2 Systems

            In order to cope with the persistent problem of the quality of education in Indonesia which many would wish to ensure through a standardized test called the national exams (UN), but that many experts would argue that UN in fact cancels the progress of education Indonesia may enjoy through the national curriculum (currently KTSP, which soon will be replaced with K2013), thus the 1 Education 2 Systems policy is created to govern and manage the tension, so that Indonesian education may cruise through a better conditioning that is more likely to guarantee learning and success.  The first system is the UN schools, and the second system is the non-UN schools.

1.      UN is required for below level B national schools
2.      Below level B national schools must follow BAN completely for the purpose of upgrading their quality of education accordingly
3.      The National Accreditation Agency (BAN) must supervise and put a relentless effort to bring up the below level B national schools to a minimum of level B within a reasonable time frame
4.      Level A and B national schools determine its own standard of assessment benchmarking to a reputable International education institution
5.      Level A and B national schools must report to BAN their approved standard of assessment

In order to ensure the achievement of the goals of education based on Pancasila, it is important that competent teachers be prepared and equipped properly.  This leads to our next proposal.

The Policy for Teachers College Initiative: Educating Indonesian Teachers

            The most important ingredient in education is teacher.  Without teachers, education suffers.  The quality of education in Indonesia depends on the quality of the teachers.  The lack of teachers college in Indonesia has already hurt Indonesian education.  Therefore, it is imperative for Indonesia to take the initiative to develop excellent teachers college to graduate high quality teachers.  Those teachers will in turn give birth to the highly ethical, excellent intellectuals, dependable professionals, and more importantly responsible human beings in Indonesia.

1.      Put the main focus of Indonesian national growth and development on the raising up of high quality teacher education, and practically plan and found enough teachers college throughout Indonesia, and also create a critical curriculum for the teachers college that will truly serve the needs of Indonesian people
2.      Place the underlying philosophy of education of the teachers college on the unshakable foundation of educating people to be GURU who will teach people to live according to their true nature as the dignified human being – the image bearer of God
3.      Set the national values (Pancasila) as the bases of the teachers’ mindset in bringing up generations that will truly set their belief in God, focus on the justice and culture of humanity, unite Indonesia, be good and wise citizens of Indonesia, and administer social justice for all Indonesians
4.      The Indonesian government, at the national or provincial level, must strive to call the brightest minds, the highest ethical, and the truly good people of Indonesia to be educated as teachers in Indonesian teachers colleges
5.      Restructure the mind of the people that being teachers is not the same with choosing poverty, and thus require all parties involved to justly and gradually increase their appreciation, be it materially or morally or socially, of the Indonesian teachers
6.      All sectors must send their brightest minds to give their time and effort to contribute to the strengthening and developing high quality Indonesian teachers colleges
7.      Frame the teachers college as the center of learning and consultation (city, province, national) depending on the scope and scale proportional to the respective teachers college

It is undeniable that Indonesian education is not focusing enough on the knowledge creation endeavor.  We all know that knowledge is essential for the growth of education and also for life as a whole.  Therefore, sustaining a solid education for Indonesia must consider this effort of knowledge creation.  This then cannot escape the next proposal.

The Policy for Research Initiative: Knowledge Creation

            Through research we accumulate knowledge.  With enough knowledge we may build something. We need enough knowledge to provide us the platform of the building of Indonesia as a whole.  But to have enough knowledge we desperately need enough research.  As we know it, research has not been effectively administered in Indonesia.  Therefore, an initiative to push research in all educational institutions for all level in Indonesia becomes crucial.  Students from primary level needs to learn the research skill so when the time comes for them to conduct a research that will contribute to knowledge and be beneficial for the betterment of humanity, they will be ready.  This being the case, Indonesian education must have shifted from drilling formulas, theories, or pushing students to memorizing information to research-oriented learning.

1.      All schools in Indonesia at all level must begin to leave the rote memorization model and start adopting research-oriented learning approach
2.      All Indonesian teachers must be prepared and equipped with the readiness to lead their students to conduct the proper research
3.      All Teachers College must gear their curriculum toward preparing and equipping candidate teachers with the skills of knowledge of research
4.      Research in all sectors: science, social science, humanities, etc. must be valued highly at all level
5.      Educational institutions like schools, universities, are to collaborate with industry in order to bring research down to earth
6.      Industry must seek out and respect educational institutions for their research effort that will provide many reasonable solutions to the actual problems in the field, this includes financial support for the research initiative at educational institutions
7.      All other institutions will also be supportive for the research conducted by educational institutions
8.      The result of the research will be used widely in Indonesia for the purpose of upgrading the quality of life

And lastly, the Nationalism path must seriously consider the uniqueness of Indonesia, which resides primarily in its rich cultural diversity.  Therefore it is not too much to put emphasis on the preservation of Indonesian culture.  And what is the better way to do so than to integrate it into education?  Therefore I propose the following policy.

The Policy for the Preservation of Indonesian Culture through Education

            One of the main purposes of education is the preservation of the culture of a nation.  However, what is meant by culture is not merely the rituals or the performances of art, music, and architecture, but also the values and the social dynamics.  With Indonesian education currently borrows a lot from the concept of education in many developed countries, somehow we are losing the Indonesian culture through education.  If we are to preserve the Indonesian culture, then it is important to start educating our children with Indonesian culture.  No longer can we marginalize cultural study in our Indonesian education.

1.      The study of Indonesian culture must be conducted in all Indonesia
2.      The result of the study must be stored in the National Library for references
3.      Each respective context and area will be responsible for the teaching of the local culture
4.      Cross cultural study should be encouraged and be made possible within the Indonesian territory itself

Practically speaking, it is the privilege of education to be wise in internalizing the love of the country.  Practices like flag ceremony might need to be revisited and reconsidered with better way of doing it in mind.  The traditional method for flag ceremony is based on the military model and it surely is not quite appropriate for use in school.  School is not military training.  Perhaps the better way to educate Indonesian citizens to love Indonesia, and thus being nationalist for Indonesia, is through modeling the good conducts toward building and defending the country.  If the leaders of the country are modeling corruption, then it would be daydreaming to hope for Indonesian citizens to love Indonesia.  What Ahok is doing in Jakarta as governor might just be the right model for nationalism education.  People like him must be ushered into leading the country and thus provide good model of nationalists.  The next generation then could learn through imitating them in nobility, honor, respect, wisdom, and courage for building and defending the country.  Then and only then all the hard works in providing education for the next generation of Indonesian people to love the country would be successful.  If our country is free from immoral practice of the leaders, then it would be natural for the next generation to live a life of high ethics as citizens of Indonesia.

            Ahok is doing what he does because his life is founded upon his first allegiance to God who created the entire universe and who created him in the first place.  His fear of God motivates him to live properly.  For he is not only a citizen of Indonesia, but most importantly a citizen of God’s kingdom.  Therefore, if we are to have a proper education that aims at nationalism, we ought to have a strong foundation on our identity as created by God and be given mandate to be stewards of the world and thus serve God wholeheartedly.  May all glory and honor be to God alone.  And may our first allegiance be for God.

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