Beranda PSPK Volume XIII: Learning from Ki Hadjar

Jakarta-In commemoration of National Education Day on May 2 2018, through series of Public Discussion Education Party 2018 (Ngobrol Publik Pesta Pendidikan 2018) in Jakarta, Center of Education and Policy Study (PSPK) conducted Beranda PSPK XIII public discussion titled “Learning from Ki Hadjar” in the Library of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Henny Supolo, PSPK researcher that is also enacts as Cahaya Guru Board of Directors Chairman , became the moderator in the discussion. Iwan Syahril, Ph.D. (PSPK researcher, Sampoerna University lecturer) and  Ir. Totok Suprayitno, Ph.D. (Head of Research and Development Agency of the Ministry of Education and Culture) was present in the current Beranda volume as the key speakers. Besides that, representatives from Ki Hadjar’s family and Taman Sari were also present.

Iwan Syahril opened the discussion by presenting the conceptual thoughts of Ki Hadjar. The first matter addressed is that Ki hadjar thoughts are beyond education context, because he is a cultural warrior (pejuang kebudayaan). Culture is not only art, but every life aspect such as political, economy, and social system. Iwan analogized Ki Hadjar’s thoughts as the solar system, the core describes the universal values, which are the  human values. While planets that revolute universal values have velocity, character, and their own environment. Earth cannot become Venus, Mars, or Pluto.

Three main things that are consistently present in Ki Hadjar’s thoughts were change, tri-kon principle (Asas Tri-Kon), and moral virtues (budi pekerti). Culture in his view must experience change. Same as plantes, the core of humanity is the same, but the form, content, and rythme (nature determinant and era determinant) that challenges us to make change.

Secondly, Tri-Kon Principle. The principle to create change which is continuity means the change of culture must preserve its own cultural tradition; convergence means the change must not distance away from the universal value; concentric means even though culture is convergent, the true personality should not perish. The last cultural concept according to Ki Hadjar is moral virtues. According to Ki Hadjar, the first thing that changes is the change itself, and the second is moral virtues.

In his presentation, Iwan elaborated that education is the seedbed for the seeds of the culture that lives in society. The teacher is the farmer. Education can only guide, the same as farmers that plant rice can only guide the rice to grow. He can repair the growth of the crops, but he can’t replace the given nature (kodrat iradat) of rice. He will never be able to change the form of the rice he planted to grow in the form of corn.

Talking about the implementation that has been done by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Totok as the Head of Research and Development Agency of the Ministry of Education and Culture Republic of Indonesia, presented several efforts in implementing the concept of Three Cores of (Tri Sentra Pendidikan). As an example, reduction in the amount of students per class policy has an objective to optimize the potential of each student, the application of KTSP (School Based Curriculum) which objective is to give freedom to teachers in developing innovation in the teaching process, and the plan to implement character report card, that emphasises that school isn’t only about academic achievements.

Besides the two main key speakers, Rangga Dewati Suryaningrat (great grand daughter of Ki Hadjar) and Ki Saur Panjaitan as the Taman Siswa Secretary General were also present. Rangga shared stories regarding Ki Hajar’s habit of teaching values through Javanese songs. Rangga emphasized that Ki Hadjar educates using his own culture. Ki Hadjar reminds children of their wrongdoings through discussion methods. On the other hand, Ki Saur presented the tutor system (pamong) in Taman Siswa. All activities at Taman Siswa are aimed at liberating children. Children are not empty paper, they are paper with given lines, the teacher’s task is only to help the children find and strengthen their pattern.

In the discussion session, Mahfudhoh (harapan Ibu Pondok Pinang Elementary Teacher) asked what is the reason the concept of Ki Hadjar hasn’t been present in today’s context, while a question from Rangga about how to handle obstacles in conducting 2013 Curriculum Training (K13) when not all participants can comprehend the red line of Ki Hadjar’s teachings that has been included in K13.

Responding to those questions, Iwan answered by giving a further question: “are we independent yet?” Iwan has an opinion that students will learn independently if the teachers are free to learn. Independence is not only about being free to do anything, but also having systematic knowledge, thus making themselves independent with knowledge. Referring to Mukhtar Bukhori, Iwan said that “learning from teachers who love studying is like drinking water from a very clear spring. However, learning from teachers who don’t like to study is like drinking water from a sewer — pollutive!”

About the deviation of implementation of Ki Hadjar’s thought, Totok confessed that there is a distortion of thought in reality. Tri Sentra Pendidikan is very important and can not be implemented perfectly with only 20% APBN. Totok added that every person has to be a learner, including teachers. Curriculum is not rigid — every teacher is a curriculum. Hence, the correct way to implement the curriculum is not by giving guidance dokumen, but by sharing best practices.

When Iwan and Totok answered the last question that was asked by the moderator about what we need to prepare in facing the 21st century challenges, Iwan said that the key is to study independently with knowledge. We have to learn about learning, learn to know what things that we do not need to know, and to learn from what we have learned, added Totok.

The discussion was closed by the Ki Hadjar’s quote by the moderator, that is “The best knowledge is the knowledge that is beneficial to other people, everyone here has proven that we are excited to hold the light of Ki Hadjar for our ecosystem,” Iwan also said that “If anyone wants to ask who Ki Hadjar is, say that Ki Hadjar is only a regular Indonesian who works for Indonesia with the ways of Indonesia”.

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