Category Archives: Education

Indonesian Students Win Big at Physics Olympiad

Five Indonesian students brought home big honors at the 42nd International Physics Olympiad (IPho) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Erwin Wibowo from BPK Penabur State Senior High School in Serpong of Banten Province took gold medal honors, narrowly defeating Kevin Ardian Fauzie from Santa Maria State Senior High School in Santa Maria of Pekanbaru in Riau Province, who earned the silver medal.

Two students from Sragen Bilingual Boarding School in Central Java, Farhan Nur Kholid and Luqman Fathurochim, and a student from Pribadi State Senior High School in Depok of West Java Province, Imam Agung Raharja got the bronze medals.

Totok Supraytno, the Ministry of Education's Director for Senior High School Management, said the students would be given scholarships to pursue their studies.

Totok said that Erwin would be given a scholarship to complete his doctoral degree, while both Farhan and Luqman would be given scholarships until they obtained their master's degrees, while Imam until he finishes his bachelor degree.

"To receive the scholarships, the students have been asked to report to the higher education department," Totok said, adding that there were 393 students from 84 countries competing in the Olympiad.

GP Ansor wants Umar bin Khattab boarding school to be closed

The youth wing of Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, GP Ansor, said that Umar bin Khattab Islamic boarding school in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, should be closed for its alleged connection to a terror plot.
“Otherwise, it could lead to the stigmatization of other Islamic boarding schools as a perpetrator of violence,” GP Ansor chairman Nusron Wahid said on Sunday, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The boarding school is located in Sanolo village, Bolo district, where a bomb killed school treasurer Suryanto, aka Firdaus, earlier this week.
The police said they also discovered documents on jihad at the school.
The police faced resistance from the school’s board members and other students when attempting to enter the school’s grounds to investigate. They were only allowed in after a series of negotiations.
Principal Abrory and some of his students are wanted in the wake of the police’s finding of homemade bombs, arrows and sharp weapons at the school.
When the police entered the school, they found that the principal and some students had already fled.
The police have named eight people as suspects in the case.

France presents award to Indonesian education prominent figures

French Ambassador to Indonesia Phillipe Zeller will pin the "Chevalier de I`Ordre des Palmes Academiques" on nine Indonesian education prominent figures on the occasion of the French National Day on July 14, 2011, at the ambassador`s official residence here.

"The award will be presented to those with high humanist aspirations and a strong spirit for intellectual matters," a press release of the French embassy said in Jakarta Tuesday.

The recipients of the award are considered to have adequate knowledge and disseminate it effectively.

The award presentation ceremony was attended by selected leaders from the regions in Indonesia, including Bagiono Djokosumbogo adviser of SEAMOLEC, Hendra Setiawan French language course director, Habibah Prayitno teacher at CCF Jakarta, Naboen Pranas former teacher at CCF Jakarta, Francien Herlen Tomasowa Cultural Faculty Dean of Brawijaya University, Ernawati Johan French teacher in Surabaya, and Hesti Purwidiastuti French teacher in Malang.

University of Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s No. 6 best university

State University of Indonesia (UI) is the only Indonesian university that made it into the top six universities in Southeast Asia, a recent report reveals.
The same report, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian Top Universities, published in May 2011, ranks UI at 50th place in Asia.
Up to 201 universities were assessed by the institution in various fields including research, teaching, graduate employability and internationalization, UI spokesman Vishnu Juwono said in a release sent to The Jakarta Post on Friday.
“In social sciences and management, UI secured 14th position, outclassing some of Asia's leading universities including the University of South Korea (23rd) and Osaka University of Japan (16th),” Vishnu said.
In arts and humanities UI was ranked 19th in Asia, in life sciences and medicine 25th, while in IT and engineering it came in 52nd.

University of Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s No. 6 best university

State University of Indonesia (UI) is the only Indonesian university that made it into the top six universities in Southeast Asia, a recent report reveals.
The same report, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian Top Universities, published in May 2011, ranks UI at 50th place in Asia.
Up to 201 universities were assessed by the institution in various fields including research, teaching, graduate employability and internationalization, UI spokesman Vishnu Juwono said in a release sent to The Jakarta Post on Friday.
“In social sciences and management, UI secured 14th position, outclassing some of Asia's leading universities including the University of South Korea (23rd) and Osaka University of Japan (16th),” Vishnu said.
In arts and humanities UI was ranked 19th in Asia, in life sciences and medicine 25th, while in IT and engineering it came in 52nd.

More Indonesians heading to universities in China

More Indonesians are heading to universities in China, and the trend is expected to continue as more Chinese universities offer English-medium courses - eliminating the need for Mandarin-language proficiency.

Cost is another reason why more Indonesians choose China instead of traditional destinations like Australia, Europe and the United States.

Helen Lim is among thousands of young Indonesians who are taking Mandarin-language classes in Jakarta.

They are preparing to study in China.

And some - like Ms Lim - are taking post-graduate courses to tap on the Middle Kingdom's growing economic clout.

Ms Lim said: "We all know about China's economic explosion. That is the reason why I plan to study there; get their knowledge and apply it in Indonesia."

Another Indonesian student, Recky Andrianus, said: "My father's business is Tour and Travel. Automatically, language is very important."

Others like Belinda Ma see this as an opportunity to pursue a career in world's second biggest economy.

She said: "I might stay."

The majority of Indonesian Chinese do not speak Mandarin or any of the Chinese-dialects - a consequence of a decades-long anti-Chinese policy imposed during President Suharto's rule.

The policy was abandoned in 2002, following political reform in Indonesia.

Chinese education fairs are an annual affair in major cities across Indonesia.

The prospect of studying in China has become more attractive in the last five years, especially after a number of Chinese universities collaborated with established outfits from Britain, United States and Australia to offer English-medium courses.

Samuel Wiyono, director of the Beijing Language and Culture Institute, said: "English is the second language in Indonesia. So it could be a reason why the English-teaching medium is being preferred and developed faster than the Chinese-language medium."

Cost is another major reason for Indonesians who choose to go to China.

Mr Wiyono said: "With affordable living expense that is equivalent to Indonesia, automatically China becomes an alternative for education. They also assumed that China's education standard is on par with the country's progress."

An estimated 700 Indonesians make their way to Chinese universities each year. That is a 30 per cent jump compared to the last five years. The trend will bolster the number of Indonesian students in China, which currently stands at around 10,000.

Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Special Assistant to Indonesia's Vice President, said: "At the moment, there are more Indonesian students studying in China than there are going to the United States. This is only happening in the past 10 years."

It is a point not lost on the leaders of the US and China during their recent visits to Indonesia.

Washington and Beijing are now offering more scholarships to Indonesians.

Dewi Fortuna Anwar said: "If the United States does not take care, they are going to lose a lot of social capital. More and more Indonesians will refer to Beijing than Washington - not for any other reason, but because they have experience of studying in China."

For these students, China is where they want to be - it is affordable, it is near and they believe it is where the opportunities are.

Indonesian tycoon donates $1m to UC Berkeley

The owner of Mayapada group and one of Indonesia’s most renowned tycoons, Tahir, has recently donated US$1 million to the University of California, Berkeley.

Receiving the donation was the university chancellor, Robert J Birgeneau.
Tahir said the donation was expected to be used to assist Indonesian students currently studying at Berkeley who were facing financial problems.
“With this fund, I hope I can do something to help our students continue their studies at Berkeley,” Tahir said Wednesday.
He added that it was his duty as a member of the university’s board of trustees to make the donation.
“In fact, I am the only Asian on the board now,” he said.
When asked on how many Indonesian students might benefit from the funds, Tahir said he did not know, adding that the technical details of its provision had been left to the university management.

Ministry Officials Held Over Student Fair Corruption

Jakarta Globe, Nurfika Osman | April 15, 2011

Four Education Ministry officials have been arrested on suspicion of embezzling Rp 2 billion ($230,000) from funds allocated for a student fair, authorities said on Friday.

Those arrested were Joko Santoso, the ministry’s director for vocational schools, and three of his subordinates, Susilowati, Suko Wiyanto and Al Azhar.

Noor Rachmad, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the four were arrested on Thursday. “We detained them because they posed a flight risk,” he said.

The case stems from an exhibition and contest held for vocational schools at the Jakarta Fairground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, in 2009.

The event was given a budget of Rp 13.84 billion by the Education Ministry, with Joko in charge of Rp 6.34 billion and the remainder tendered out to the private sector.

Joko is alleged to have ordered his staff to siphon off at least Rp 1.498 billion and doctor the financial report to cover up the missing money.

“Based on a report by our investigators, losses to the state could reach as high as Rp 2 billion,” Noor said.

A final figure would be known, he said, once the State Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP) completed its audit.

National Education Minister Muhammad Nuh said he was aware of the case and would leave it up to the AGO to investigate.

“All we can do is provide the suspects with [legal] assistance because they’re still members of our staff,” he said. “We’ve also appointed a new acting director of vocational schools.”

Nuh added the ministry would not fire the four officials until they had been formally charged and brought to trial. He declined to say whether other officials were likely to be named suspects in the case.

Additional reporting from Berita Satu

Reforming Morality

A secular based moral education system is the way forward for Indonesia, says Ben.

A sense of déjà vu was in the air when I watched the news of current upheaval in the Middle East. Tunisians, Egyptians, Iranians, Libyans etc just a bit more than us, are in a state of exhaustion, weary due to the many years of hollow promises and minuscule economic progress. Although unlike them we are (almost) free from the clutches of a militaristic regime, in many ways we are sadly similar. Human rights violations still run high, religious freedom is highly questionable and the unity of our nation is to some extent nonexistent except when there's a football match or a natural disaster.

It is thus not unusual if our society and many political analysts fears a domino effect. Could Indonesians, like Egyptians, be inspired to revolt once again against a government that has performed dismally these past few years in many ways? Especially in many social areas ranging from our flimsy economy to our  shameful human rights track record which has been even more stained by the recent torture towards Papua’s separatist by some individuals in the military.

Looking back at the many various social troubles taking place after our reform, history shows that it takes much more than sporadic social problems to trigger a national revolution or reform. But the lack of such upheaval here does not mean that Indonesia hasn't overlooked more than a few problems these past years.

Every country that has undergone a revolution or reform hopes for nothing less than a change in the social-political situation of society itself. But what many countries often overlook, including Indonesia, is that it takes much more than political reform to make such a change. To have a successful transformation is not by merely overthrowing the current government and placing a “reformed” government in its place but is about having and understanding the need of a holistic reform that encompasses not only the government but also larger society.

In layman’s terms, society itself must also be reformed.

The public at large must evolve into a more democratic society. We are foolish to separate government and society because they are in fact one. The solution is not only within the government but it is also in the society itself.

We have not understood that the problem which lies within the society may also be solved by the society itself. Yet before this comes to be, the society must understand that it is always a part of the solution. That is why the reformation of the society, of the people, is of utmost importance because the society has not entirely reached this level of understanding.

Looking at our governments policies in handling social problems(such as religious matters) in Indonesia, our government seems not to have taken this into account, largely because the image of our president seems to be the more pressing issue ever at hand.

How can the people achieve reform? By nothing less than morally educating our society. An ignorant mind is an easily corrupted mind. If we are to be free from any continuing oppression, we must also be free from ourselves — our ignorant selves. The more morally uneducated we are, the more lost we'll become.

We as Indonesians would be lying to ourselves if we denied the fact that we are morally unhealthy. Although I do not wish to generalize our society as a whole, but if we see the rise of intolerance(may it be religious or perhaps racial)that has manifested into violence there is certainly some sort of moral digression in our society.  Those who are aware of our unhealthy morality have tried using religion as the remedy. Although to some degree this may indeed work, it is certainly not a panacea.

There is disorder in our consciousness which has manifested violence and if we are to bring order we cannot depend fully on religion to straighten our tangled minds. Teaching religion without first having an adequate moral education as its foundation may result in nothing more than a corrupted version of that religion and spawn a new generation of terrorists. Teaching morality which is based on religion may form a biased type of moral education.

But what is morality itself? A definition must be clear in order for us to educate our society with the much needed morality. Morality can be defined as some sort of a guideline or rules that most members of society believe in and is vital in maintaining civility in our society. Basically its a set of social norms that most of us have acknowledged. Which in our case is a set of rules that can be and should be based on our pluralistic and praiseworthy Pancasila.

Yes, we do have an education on Pancasila but that is about Pancasila not Pancasila as the basis of our morality. Adding to this our educational system has often been passive, and seeing what Indonesia’s young minds has been able to depressingly do, (violent student riots, violent motorcycle gangs, basically being violent) passively teaching morality has shown very minimal use. There must be a change on how we educate. An active form of moral education must be implemented.

And this where our government has not been able to see.

Our government does not know on how to morally educate our society, instead it has relied heavily on religion to do so. It sees our nation’s morality as a trivial matter. From my personal experience as a recently graduated university student, moral education in the form of Pancasila and civil-moral education is only to be memorized in order for students to advance to the next grade. The actual practice of actively practicing morality is not available for the students.

Such an absurd understanding of moral education will only hinder its progress. Moral education is much more than merely memorizing a set of moralistic guidelines; like practicing chemistry in a lab; morality must also be practiced in a form of “social laboratory.” It must not be memorized but understood and actively practiced so that the individual may evolve into a morally adequate human being.

The individual must have an active participation when it comes to moral education.

If we take examples such as France, which has spearheaded the need for a secular active moral education, it has done an amazing job at implementing active learning moral education by engaging its students in a debate on morality itself. Questioning the moral foundations of society so that the students may not only memorize but understand thoroughly on the morality and the ethics of their society. The students cognition when learning morality is forced to become active. They are forced to question the very foundations of their society, thus producing students that are critical on the defined form of their society’s morality.

Indonesia on the other hand has closed its doors towards any reinterpretation of it’s moral foundation. Questioning religion is blasphemy and questioning our Pancasila, which has been used as the basis of our moral education, is seen to disrespect our forefathers. It is unsurprising that many parts of our society has become incredibly defensive when questioned of these sensitive matters, Indonesia’s culture seems to not be accustomed towards criticism especially in these personal issues.

Yet critical thinking alone towards the foundation of our society is not enough, as said above, a form of “social laboratory” is needed. Countries such as Belgium and the United States has seen the need of a hands on approach towards actively teaching moral education hence forcing the students to actively practice their morality outside the classes and directly into society. It is what in the United States is known as community service. The aim of community service is clear, it is not only done to give a certain service to our community that is in need of service but it is also is done to morally sensitize and enhance the social responsibilities of the anyone participating in the community service. It is an activity that is much needed for our students to understand the importance of having an adequate sense of morality.

If our government is able to learn from these examples then perhaps our students have a better chance at becoming a morally sound individual that understands the use of religion as a tool to do good not as a weapon of destruction.

It is hoped that by teaching the correct form of moral education, a moral education that is based on Pancasila rather religion and a moral education that has a more hands on approach it will trigger an inward revolution within the individual. Because as finely and accurately said by the great Indian Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, “Change in society is of secondary importance; that will come about naturally, inevitably, when you as human beings bring about change in yourself.”

A secular based moral education that bases itself on our country’s pluralistic ideologies, must  be put into place and although it is our responsibilities to teach our children of this moral education, it is the government that has the power to reform the educational system of our nation.

Yes it does sound rather idealistic but if we take examples from history such as rights for the African Americans in the early 20th century and compare them now, utopia seems to only reside in our minds. As long as we perceive a certain matter as idealistic that matter will always remain idealistic and if we remain like so, we have learned nothing from history.

Any country undergoing reform in its government must understand the importance of moral education in society. Without first reforming our society by morally educating it, no lasting political reform can ever be achieved.

Reforming Morality is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

VP : RI needs solution to its problems

Antara News, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is in need of solution to its problems at present and in the future, Vice President Boediono said here on Wednesday.

"Indonesia needs solution, not contradiction nor controversy," the vice president said when attending the establishment of President University and President Executive Club here.

The vice president asserted that the country had immense social energy, directed to solve various problems at present and in the future.

He added that the country should not be afraid to face various challenges ahead because it had immense social energy.

"It is very deplorable if the immense social energy is wasted uselessly for a momentary interest of certain group of community," Boediono said.

He said the social energy should be used to solve the present and future problems for the state and the nation`s common interest.

"All public components including the bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, and other parties should jointly use the social energy to solve the problems for the national common interest," he said.

According to him, the progress of a nation was determined by its human resources quality.

"Indonesia really has a lot of human resources, but their quality is the most important thing," the vice president said.

In the light of this, he said the government was open to the presence of education institution and dialog forum such as President University and President Executive Club that can create the best possible solution for the progress of Indonesia in the future.