The Breach in the Dike: Regime change and the standardization of public primary-school teacher training in Indonesia (1893-1969)

Dissertation by: AGUS SUWIGNYO

What the present study is about
The present study deals with the standardization of the public training of Indonesian primary-school teachers from 1893 to 1969. The aim is to examine the reforms in the training system introduced to keep pace with the requirements of public primary schools which changed in response to the dynamics of the economic and political contexts. Taking the Second World War as a principal dividing time-line, this study attempts to analyse continuity and change from colonial to independent Indonesia . The following questions are of especial concern:
1. How did the Indonesian teacher training serve to raise the standard of public education?
2. How did the colonial government deal with the constraints imposed by policy and practice in the training of Indonesian teachers?
3. How and why did the structure of the teacher training school eventually fall apart?
4. To what extent did colonial heritage and ideological aims clash or merge in the policy and practice of teacher training in early independent Indonesia ?
5. How and to what extent did alumni of the Indonesian teacher training schools experience changes in self-perception and social transformation during the mid-century change of regime?

By way of background, in 2005 the Indonesian government and Parliament (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) passed Bill No. 14/2005 on Teachers and Lecturers (Undang-Undang Guru dan Dosen). The aim of this Bill is to improve the professionalism, welfare and freedom of speech of teachers and lectures and to strengthen their role in developing national education. The ratification of the Bill marked a breakthrough in the history of education in Indonesia because it recognizes the legal status of teachers and lecturers and the strategic position of the teaching profession. It also reflects a political will to place teachers in the core agenda of contemporary educational reforms.

Unfortunately, the Bill and the public debates which preceded and followed its ratification lack historical perspectives. The Bill sets the four types of competency required of teachers and lecturers (pedagogical, personal, social and professional), but fails to indicate how these will or should be measured.nThis does not reflect the lessons of past experience when the competence required of Indonesian teachers were formulated in elaborate detail in order to adjust them to the changing demands of schools and society. The 2005 Teachers and Lecturer Bill pays little attention to the accreditation system of teacher training, even though ‘accreditation’ (in the simple form of periodic evaluation) was a critical aspect of the monitoring system in the past.10 Last but not least, the Bill emphasizes the improvement of professional quality by way of training and certification, but barely touches upon teacher training schools, which have been sidelined in policy making since the abolition of the Sekolah Pendidikan Guru (SPG, secondary school for teacher training) in 1989 and the transformation of the Institut Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan (IKIP, Institute of Teachers’ Training and Education) to university in the 1990s.Although the 2005 Teachers and Lecturer Bill accommodates state-of-the-art visions of educational quality and has sought inspiration from neighbouring countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and, farther afield Australia and the US, it does not seem to have learned from Indonesia’s own past experience of success and failure in training teachers. The Bill and the public debates about it generally mirror the present trend of ‘historical amnesia’ in Indonesian public policy making.

That a historical legacy is missing in the 2005 Teachers and Lecturer Bill might have been caused by a lack of study of the history of Indonesian education in general and teacher training in particular. A comprehensive study about how policies to achieve a standardized training system were developed and implemented in the past century has yet to be written. Indonesian authors tend to concentrate on the political period following the Indonesian Declaration of Independence in 1945 and therefore rarely make use of sources prior to it. Dutch and other authors generally deal with the period up to 1942, or occasionally up to 1949. They explore the developments in public education as blessings bestowed by the Ethical Policy and examine them in the contexts of the rise of Indonesian nationalism and the changing class structure in Indonesian society. Primary work on the public training of Indonesian teachers has been carried out by H. Kroeskamp, who analysed the educational reforms from the early period of the East India Company in the seventeenth century to the year 1893.But the development of public teacher training in the twentieth century has been left unexplored until now.
As an attempt to fill in the breach, the present study explores the standardization of the public training of Indonesian primary-school teachers from 1893 to 1969. It focuses on the institutional foundation of teacher training and also addresses the changing political status and self-perception of Indonesian teachers at the public schools. In the twilight years of the colony, a growing number of Indonesian teachers had graduated from the colonial training schools and became a ‘modern elite’, in Van Niel’s words, namely ‘anyone standing above the great common masses who in some degree or form leads, influences, administers, or guides Indonesian society’.Emerging as lesser prijaji in the first decade of the twentieth century, the Indonesian teachers in public schools embarked on an increasingly stable path of upward mobility as members of a fast growing and rather progressive group of the middle-class elite. But, when indigenous political movements gained in strength in the second decade, generally those teachers were not to be found among the highly progressive Indonesians in the forefront of these movements. They withdrew into being a group of politically silent intellectuals whom Van Niel calls the functional elite, contrasted to the progressive political elite.

Van Niel’s analysis is a good explanation of why Indonesian teachers in public schools and their training have remained in the shadow of greater ‘heroic’ stories told about the modernization of the twentieth-century Indonesia . Indonesian teachers in public schools in the first three decades of the twentieth century were ‘not really a new elite, but rather an extension of the old’. Unlike leaders of organizations and activists who worked for a new political system, Indonesian teachers in public schools managed to gain a better personal social position in the existing system and hence played an instrumental role in the colonial State. Van Niel states that an analysis of the organizational activities of the political elite might ‘give a political tinge to the social changes occurring in Indonesia ’. However, he also admits that ‘most of the social change took place within the framework of the Dutch colonial system and was mostly apolitical’. It is intriguing and challenging to examine how the social change in early-twentieth-century Indonesia was perceived by the functional elites who were, in Van Niel’s terms, the majority in number but apolitical in ideology.

Analyzing the year 1927 as the end of the period he studied, Van Niel left unexplored how Indonesian school teachers in public schools were to become politically involved in the changing Indonesian society of the following decades. Only if a historical survey is extended from colonial to independent Indonesia can a better understanding of the changing position of public-school teachers in the process of Indonesian transformation be attained. During the 1930s, Indonesian students at the public teacher training schools gradually developed a new horizon and self-consciousness about their roles in the society at large. After the Second World War, many Dutch-trained Indonesian teachers assumed key responsibilities not only in the re-structuring and administration of the national education system of independent Indonesia, but also in the bureaucracy, military, economic and political sectors of the newly emerging State.18 The transition from colonial to post-colonial regimes created a new direction in which the teachers in public schools functioned as a hinge in ‘the problematic gap of continuity and change in Indonesian history’.

As the Second World War came to an end in Europe and Africa, followed by Asia and the Pacific by mid-1945, the Indonesian people in general entered into an especially historic phase in their life. At a dramatic and critical moment on 17 August, two nationalist leaders Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta declared the independence of Indonesia in the name of the people. In his surging rhetoric, Soekarno referred to the independence as a ‘jembatan emas’, or a golden bridge, by crossing which a just and wealthy society would be realized by and for the Indonesian people.22 Yet, Imam Sajono, a former student of the Hollands Inlandse Kweekschool (HIK), characterized Indonesian independence as a ‘tanggul jebol (doorgebroken dijk)’, a breach in the dike, because it created new opportunities for and challenges to his professional career. No less ebullient, Sajono felt that in the polarized colonial society, he and other former students were trained to become schoolteachers, not to work in other sectors like the army and banking. In the present situation he could seek employment in whatever sector available.

Sajono’s understanding of the significance of the year 1945 was that held by many Indonesians at the time. But the significance of his metaphoric expression, ‘the breach in the dike’, can be spelled out explicitly if the developments following the War are examined in greater depth. In Chapter 5 of the present study, it is argued that the Pacific War opened up opportunities for the participation of the Indonesian masses in public sectors formerly dominated by the elite groups of the colonial society. The abolition of school fees and the stratified selection system by the Japanese resulted in an influx of school children. Suzuki Seihei, a Japanese teacher and chief of the Education Section of the areas of Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa, said ‘… it seems as though some sort of natural phenomenon occurred, as the collapse of a levee allows the dammed up water to gush out freely’.24 However, his statement should be taken with a pinch of salt. The schools the Japanese installed only ran effectively in the initial phase of the occupation, up to the time the war mobilization was declared. So before 17 August 1945 there was no political guarantee whatsoever that the Indonesian masses would obtain a sustainable and equal access to education. In this context, the year 1945 was significant since the colonial political structures, which had denied the basic rights to the masses, were destroyed.

The breach in the dike promoted mass participation and social mobility for educated people but it also confused the process of the establishment of the system. For the first five years following the Japanese capitulation, the making of educational policy in the territories occupied by the Dutch was shared by different autonomous authorities under the umbrella control of the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA).25 Recovery was highest on the agenda. In the jurisdiction of the Indonesian Republic , schools were very prone to political and military actions. Not until all the states finally merged with the Republic of Indonesia to form the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia on 17 August 1950, was a fundamental reform at the national level made possible.

The transitional types of the teacher-training schools which the governments attempted to set up reflected the disorganized circumstances in which educational experiments took place.26 While I agree with Imam Sajono’s metaphorical expression ‘the breach in the dike’, referring to sudden social mobility and mass participation in education, I also define it in terms of the overall dynamics affecting the making and implementation of educational policy. I use the term to characterize the range of events—with the year 1945 as a principal dividing time line—in which confusion and conflicts loomed large in the training of schoolteachers.

Tracing boundaries
Standardization is the term chosen to indicate the on-going process in which the training of teachers was reformed and transformed over time in response to particular benchmarks or quality references. Between the 1890s and the 1960s, the school system in Indonesia was characterized by vulnerability and variety. It was vulnerable to successive changes in the economic and political sectors. Because different types of schools existed for different purposes and ethnic groups, it is impossible to talk about standardization in the sense of the uniformity or stability of a school system encompassing all political, cultural and social diversity and the dynamics of Indonesian society. Nevertheless, the improvement in and the expansion of public schools regularly affected the government policy on preparing teachers for these schools. These teachers were provided with professional profiles which more or less reflected the characteristics of the time. The standardization took place in the ‘internal aspects’ of the training in which the teachers were increasingly better prepared for this task. Although the access of the public to education was stratified by social classes, in the period of 1893-1969 there was an on-going process of improvement to reach a quality standard of education for the respective categories of the social classes.

During the period under study, the relationship between teacher training and social development constantly reflected the ideological aims of the governing regimes. Here, a ‘regime’ is defined as a particular mode of government.27 As education is framed as an object of the power which a government orchestrates,28 it is logical to say that changes of political regimes lead to changes in the lines of educational policy. Notwithstanding this, the dynamics of educational policy during the afore-mentioned period did not necessarily reflect the changes of political administration. A particular political regime could have changed the lines of its educational policy several times and thus created different ‘regimes of education’. In such a case, another concept of ‘regime’ is adopted by which to refer to a ‘particular way of operating or organizing’ an education system. In the present study, the standardization of the public teacher training is examined in the framework of the changes of both political and educational regimes.

The successive administrations had paid deliberate attention to school education for indigenous people since the second half of the nineteenth century. But the blooming of the schools for public masses was only a phenomenon of the early twentieth century, following the inauguration of what has been generally known as the Ethical Policy. By then, the Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries had already been providing education in Eastern Indonesian areas such as Maluku, Minahasa, Ternate, Tidore, Flores and Lesser Sunda Islands for more than a century. Therefore, the government focused on Java and Sumatra and left the provision of education in the eastern islands largely to the original initiatives of the missionaries. The emergence of public schools—that is, schools run by the government—stimulated the rise of private schools run by such organizations as the Budi Utomo, Sarikat Islam, Muhammadiyah, Dinniyah, the Theosophists, the Indo-Europeans, the Communists and the Taman Siswa. While the aim of the public schools was economic reproduction in support of the government administration, the schools run by these private organizations and the Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries were mostly motivated by ideological reasons and reflected the political lines of the various non-government groups.

The private schools, especially those run by Budi Utomo, Sarikat Islam, the Communists and the Taman Siswa movement, served as a seeding ground for Indonesian nationalism and many of their activists struggled to achieve the emergence of a national education system. However, when Indonesia became independent, it did not inherit the educational system of these private schools. Many public schools in the early years of independent Indonesia had originally been public schools run by the colonial and the Japanese administrations. The teachers at the public schools before the Second World War, who as a rule had been civil servants of the colonial government, still remained civil servants after the War and now served the government of independent Indonesia . The private schools, which had symbolized the nationalist struggle for the national education of Indonesia , remained private institutions, although some of them did receive a financial subsidy from the government. In the 1950s, numerous teachers of the pre-war private schools demanded that the government (of independent Indonesia ) gazette them as civil servants because ‘they had struggled for the birth of the Indonesian national education during the colonial era’. The government could not acquiesce in this request for several reasons. In a nutshell, independent Indonesia adopted and continued the public school system of the colonial administration. The transition from colonial to independent times seems to have meant a mere transfer of authority from one political regime to another and the relationship between citizens and State or State apparatus was not altered or transformed.

It is the public, not the private, education which becomes the particular object of examination of the present study. ‘Public education’ is defined as ‘the education provided by the government schools’; ‘private education’ is ‘the education afforded by private schools or non-government education institutions’. In the government schools transition from colonial to post-colonial education can be traced and reconstructed. The private schools were so diverse in terms of ideology that more than a pedagogical perspective is needed to study them. Although the focus is on public education, this study will also pay attention to private education during the heyday of the so-called ‘wilde scholen’ or ‘unofficial schools’ in the 1930s and during the critical moment of transition in the 1950s.

Especially in the case of the pre-war period, this study is concerned with the training of teachers for primary schools. During that period, teaching positions in secondary (and tertiary) education were mainly reserved for European personnel who had received their training in the Netherlands . In the post-war period Indonesia had to train its own teachers, including those at the secondary schools who would in turn train the teachers of the primary schools. So, in dealing with the post-war period, the training of both primary- and secondary-school teachers is examined for the sake of continuity from pre- to post-war periods and from primary to secondary education levels. It is also for the reason of continuity that the pre-war training discussed here is focused on the training of ethnic Indonesian, not Dutch or Chinese teachers.

When dealing with the pre-war period, this study concerns with Java and Sumatra as the prime localities if only because almost all public teacher training schools (11 out of 12 in 1925) were located in these two islands. As regards to the post-war period, the geographical scope of the present study presumably includes the entire Indonesian territory. Although the limitation of geographical scope is set out, what matters most in the exploration of the present study is the institutional foundation of teacher training, not the development in a particular geographical locality.

In terms of time scope, this study covers the period between 1893 and 1969. In 1893 the government introduced two types of primary schools for indigenous children, the First-Class and the Second-Class schools. The First-Class school was meant for children of the noble and better-off families. The Second-Class school was meant for ordinary urban dwellers. Up to 1893, children of the noble families constituted the only group among the indigenous society that had an access to Western education. The educational reform of 1893 opened the access of indigenous children of the wealthy, non-noble families to the primary school which had been initially meant for the children of the noble families. The primary school was called ‘First-Class school’ as to indicate that it admitted children of these two categories of top elite (noble families and better-off families), thus differentiated them from the under-privileged group of the indigenous society. The reform of 1893 also paved the way for indigenous children of ordinary, economically under-privileged families to enjoy Western education, however simple the instructions provided by the Second-Class school might have been. Although still very limited in access for the majority of the indigenous Indonesians,32 the foundation of the First-Class and the Second-Class schools in 1893 marked the provision of Western education for the general, non-noble children of the indigenous society.

The foundation of the two types of schools in 1893 also marked the beginning of the so-called ‘dualistic system of education’, which would characterize the history of school education and the social transformation of the Indonesian people throughout the next five decades. The different types of schools would require differently trained teachers for whom the government formulated different pedagogical competencies and salary scales that in the end created different social and economic classes of the schoolteachers. The dualistic educational system signified the implementation of a ‘policy of social exclusion’ in the Netherlands Indies society, in which stratification was the main feature. Unlike the generally-accepted views, which portray the stratification of the Netherlands Indies society of the early twentieth century from a political perspective, the case of the dualistic educational system shows that social classes were the issue. While politically the birth of the dualistic system of education in 1893 showed the unequal position between the majority of indigenous Indonesians and the Western people plus the lucky few indigenous elite, the categories in the social and economic status seemed to have guided the making of educational policies which differentiated between the privileged and the under-privileged. Overall, the year 1893 witnessed a transition of educational regime although the political regime of colonial administrations remained relatively unchanged. Last but not least, the year 1893 also marks the end of the period covered by Kroeskamp which leaves as a legacy for the present study.

Those who are familiar with the Indonesian history of the twentieth century presumably agree that the 1960s were crucial in terms of the change of political regimes. The year 1969 was the commencement of a new educational line in which a stable policy replaced two decades of turbulent economic and political life in Indonesia . The end of the 1960s marked a dramatic change in the professional profiles required of Indonesian teachers: from a politically conscious cultural agent to a docile instructor. This change reflected State intervention and a shift in the relationship between school and society.

Principal findings
In colonial Indonesia , the changes in the policy concerning the public teacher training were geared to the improvement of education in the primary schools and therefore they generally followed, or were put in line with, the primary school reforms. In this process the making of benchmark or quality reference was a key issue. By the educational reform of 1893, the training of Indonesian teachers was oriented towards local culture. When the public primary school for Indonesian children was reformed in 1907 and was then made equivalent to the primary school for the Europeans in 1914, the professional requirements of the teachers of the school were changed concomitantly. Indonesian teachers were now expected to possess knowledge of Western culture, including satisfactory mastery of Dutch. The setting of quality reference was initially carried out by having European teachers who had been trained in the Netherlands to teach in the schools for Indonesians. This strategy put too much strain in the government budget and did not close the professional gap between European and Indonesian teaching staff. Hence, improving the training of Indonesian teachers became a government priority.
The educational policies made between 1893 and 1927 in overall created the foundation for the process of the benchmarking of the training of Indonesian teachers. Pedagogically, the aims of the primary school and concomitant kweekschool reforms were to achieve a standardized education. At the elite level, this meant an education for indigenous children, which was made concordant to that for their European counterparts. At the ‘grass-root’ level, it was a schooling which was continuously improved in terms of access and comprehensiveness of the course subjects taught. Politically, the reforms raised the question of whether standardization meant, to use the term of historian I.J. Brugmans, a Dutchification (Vernederlandsching) at the expense of indigenous identity. In addition, the educational policies during this period marked the birth and the strengthening of the so-called ‘dualistic system of education’. While opening the gateway to Western education for a wider array of indigenous society, these policies also signified the systemization of ‘social exclusion’ in the Netherlands Indies.

The transformation of the kweekschool into the Hollands Inlandse Kweekschool (HIK) in 1927 upgraded the level of Indonesian teacher training to the standard of the European teacher training in the Netherlands Indies and in the Netherlands . It would be true to say that the launch of the HIK was an exercise in the internationalization of education. Theoretically, the concordance principle set up by the 1927 Kweekschoolplan amounted to a re-organization of the curriculum of the teacher training school. In practice, it was not the final answer to the educational problems of the European community in the Indies , the issue of cultural interface, let alone, the nationalists’ demands for equal access to school education. Notwithstanding this, the random implementation of the concordance training of teachers had a long-lasting impact on those who enjoyed it.

The ‘concordantie’ design of the HIK also carried the covert implication that the preparation of Indonesian teachers was cut off from the cultural origins of the students themselves. Expected to embrace symbols of Dutch culture as core values of professional competence, HIK students were trained to become indigenous representatives of the West in a colonial society. They were highly selected and few in number and hence became a new elite group despite, the fact that many of them had come from non-elite families. This implied that the imperial Netherlands was not actually strongly embedded in the cultural sphere of the lives of the Indies society which has been a common assumption of the post-war Dutch public. Although by the 1920s Western education had been increasingly directed towards the cultural concordance between the Indies and the Netherlands , the elite nature of the training of Indonesian teachers prevented the spread of Dutch culture—notably the Dutch language—among the majority of the Indonesian population. This was precisely the main critique which the Indonesian nationalists in such organizations as Sarikat Islam, Sekolah Rakyat and the Taman Siswa had voiced in the wake of the expansion of school in Java and Sumatra . In a manner similar to the French policy in Indo-China, the policy of the Netherlands Indies government was to limit the access of the indigenous mass to Western education and prevent them from entering the core sphere of Western culture in the colony. It pre-empted the existence of a mutual interface between Eastern and Western communities. The purpose of this politics of differentiation was to keep a preponderant balance in the relationship between the colonial subject and the overlord, reflecting the principle of indirect administration.

During the 1930s the real challenge for the government to create a standardized teacher training dealt as much with the pedagogical as with the economic and the political aspects. The Great Depression forced the government to change the focus of its educational policy. The concordance plan was partially revoked; at the very least it was no longer a priority. The school for Indonesian commoners (volkschool), which had remained localized and had received no place in the design of concordance education in the 1920s, was now (in the 1930s) transposed to the centre of reform simply because its operational costs were less expensive than those of the elite schools and because its costs were shared by the central and local governments. While turning to the volkschool was the most strategic policy which the government could have made to cope with economic difficulties in the 1930s, the impact of this move was unprecedented both pedagogically and politically. By focusing on the volkschool and setting aside the concordance plan, the government consequently slowed down or, not to put too fine a point on it, degraded the process of benchmarking in the education system in the Netherlands . From the perspective of the HIK students, the changing line in government educational policy was a clear sign of the demise of the colonial dream, despite the fact that it was necessitated by the external factor of economic circumstances. Many of them could not obtain an appointment in government schools and, as an alternative, joined private schools, including those which fell into the category of wilde scholen or unofficial schools. The Great Depression easily metamorphosed the docile nature of those indigenous subjects who had been trained in Dutch schools because, while the financial capacity of the government to maintain standardized education had sharply declined, the concordant design of the schools had created an impression about economic promises rather than mutual cultural understanding. Just as everywhere in the world now and then, disappointment which was motivated by economic factors could quickly turn into political dissidence when the politics of differentiation or discrimination had been looming. Had the majority of Indonesian population been introduced to Dutch culture through a concordant school on a wide scale earlier than the 1920s, the relations between the Netherlands and the Indies society would have been based on a foundation deep and vast enough to resist the impact of the Great Depression in the 1930s and of the Japanese cultural propaganda in the early 1940s.

The structure of pre-war teacher training eventually fell apart in the post-war era because its foundation had been subjected to persistent cultural and political weakening since the 1930s and because the more recent socio-political developments in the 1950s cut off its lines of survival in the larger context. The docile subjects, formerly so characteristic of the colonial State, had disappeared. Many Dutch-trained individuals (including schoolteachers) had left the posts for which their education had destined them to enter other professional fields. All traces of the old system were rapidly vanishing. Dutch was abolished from public schools and Dutch-language schoolbooks were translated into Indonesian. European teachers were ‘isolated’ to a number of Dutch schools which had become private schools by the early 1950s, before they were abruptly replaced at the end of the decade. In short, the Dutch system of education had been toppled from its pedestal as a quality reference. Although the factors which led to the rupture between the post-colonial State and its colonial predecessor had been observable to the discerning in the 1930s, they became especially striking in the 1950s.

Nevertheless, the transition from colonial to post-colonial regime in Indonesia was a paradoxical phenomenon. It reflected some confusion in the thought process of the Indonesian leaders in their search for the meaning of political independence and its implications for the construction of national identity. The end of the Second World War had shifted the self-perception and expectations of Indonesian people about their position and role in society. Indonesians were no longer a mere faceless mass but citizens of a sovereign State. Schoolteachers now had to play a role in the throes of change gripping the society for more actively than in colonial days. Although Indonesians’ self-perception had drastically altered, moving towards a growing consciousness of citizenship, the newly born State was simply too weak to materialize the promises of Independence . The re-institutionalization of the structure of the pre-war educational system in the early 1950s was an indication of a conflict of feeling which Indonesian leaders, the majority of them graduates of pre-war Dutch schools, were struggling to overcome. In independent Indonesia , at a political level the heritage of colonial educational was overlooked, even despised. Nevertheless, there was a tremendous lack of institutional capacity on the part of the Indonesian State to rebuild its education system from the ground up. This stirred the reluctance of the leaders to move away from the pre-war educational system. The upshot was schooling which was replete with messages about new State formation and nation-building, but which had no educational benchmark as a point of reference. When the American educational system was adopted and a number of English-speaking educationalists began to collaborate with their Indonesian counterparts in an effect to reform teacher training at the end of the 1950s, the training system which was still in place was at best characterised by valuable expressions of nationalism, public pride and enthusiasm instead of any real indicator of educational quality.

The transformation of the teacher training system is a case which can be taken as a mirror in which to see the process of State formation in twentieth-century Indonesia . Keeping pace with 16 overall changes in regimes from 1893 to 1969, characteristically the policy on education and teacher training was the vehicle of the ideological line of the governing polity. Just as anywhere else, the process of regime transition in Indonesia revealed the politics of elimination with a startling lack of understanding of historical experience. This confirms the theory that, by design, school education is a persistent arena of power contestation. More often than not, the making of educational policy was directed by political domination rather than by pedagogical thoughts.***AS

Curriculum Vitae
Agus Suwignyo earned a Bachelor of Education degree from Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 1997 and a Master of Arts in Educational Science from The University of Amsterdam in 2001; taught at his Alma Mater and at Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta ; is currently a staff member of the History Department, Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta.
A three-time recipient of Education Article Award from the Indonesian Minister of Education (2004, 2005, 2009); the 2010 Indonesian Fellow of the United States-Indonesia Society (USINDO) in Washington DC.
His publications (2004-2012) include forty-three opinion articles in Indonesian Daily Kompas and eight chapters in books/journals—mostly written in Indonesian and nearly all about Indonesian education.

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