Is it true that full day school promotes “Revolusi Mental”?

Aan Anshori
Is it true that full day school promotes “Revolusi Mental”?
To what extent can FDS – or any similar educational system, such as pesantren - produce graduates with a high level of “revolusi mental” competence and awareness?

Muhadjir’s recent statement on Full Day School (FDS) policy planning garnered serious criticism from netizens wherein he claimed FDS was undeniable proof to President Jokowi that the educational system Muhadjir has been involved in all along, is capable of implementing Jokowi’s “Revolusi Mental” policy.

Muhadjir surely believes FDS is the best education system that his organization, Muhammadiyyah, can be proud of. Soekarno, Mansyur, Haji Misbach, General Sudirman, Suharto, and thousands of notable and prominent national figures were born from educational systems that Mbah Dahlan designed from the beginning.

No one – including me – has any doubt, at all, of Muhammadiyah’s role in Indonesian educational history. Far before this country’s independence, this organization was highly esteemed with outstanding records, both in education and health.

Other organizations of that era could not compete with such a record. Based on internal documents, Muhammadiyah now manages approximately 4,623 Islamic kindergartens, 2,604 elementary schools level, 1,772 junior high schools, 1,143 senior high schools, and 172 universities.

Not to mention that Muhammadiyah also has 71 schools for differently-abled students and 67 Islamic boarding schools. Some could argue that our nation owes its civilization to the organization in which Muhadjiris involved.

But, to what extent can FDS – or any similar educational system, such as pesantrenproduce graduates with a high level of “revolusi mental” competence and awareness?

Definition important

First, we have to agree on what “revolusi mental” actually means.

It seems difficult to glean a precise definition from the political promises (Nawacita) of Jokowi during his campaign, but nevertheless, we are still able to determine at least two indicators of the Indonesian dream in the hopeful concept of “revolusi mental”: integrity (say no to corruption!), and faithfully managing our cultural diversity through the spirit of unity in diversity (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika).

Regarding the second indicator, as a nation, we should deeply worry about the diversity situation in Indonesia today. Persecution and religious violence have intensified and just like a hurricane, minority groups have been vigorously attacked.

Between 2004 and 2010, according to EV. Sitorus (2013), there were roughly 4,244 religious buildings – mostly churches – that were vandalized or burnt down and radical, intolerant groups claimed responsibility. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the actual number would be higher if we accumulated the cases beginning from 1998, the beginning of the Reformation Era.

The PEW Research Center recently released a report that listed Indonesia as one of the countries with the lowest levels of protecting freedom of beliefs. The others with such low levels are the Middle Eastern countries of Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as Pakistan.

SCHOOL CHILD. An Indonesian primary school girl in Sukajadi, near Bogor, about 90 kms north of Jakarta. File photo by EPA

This disappointing situation has been corroborated by the newest findings of the Wahid Institute (WI) – a prominent civil society organization which is primarily concerned with issues related to pluralism. WI – in cooperation with the LSI (Indonesia Survey Institute) – argued that there were 500,000 people who have been involved in radicalization activities and, surprisingly, that there are almost 11 million Indonesians ready to take part in any radicalized violence.

Can we imagine how high the destruction level would be with numbers such as that?

Four years ago, a survey regarding intolerance within institutions of formal education was conducted by LaKIP (Peace and Islam Research Institute, an NGO based in Jakarta) with shocking results. When they surveyed 100 respondents from 59 non-religious public and private schools around Jakarta, LaKIP found that 25% of the students and 21% of the teachers said that the Pancasila, the national philosophical backbone, was no longer relevant anymore.

84.8% of the students and 76.2% of the teachers agreed to the implementation of sharia law in Indonesia. 52.3% of the respondents agreed to the use of violence as a religious solidarity measure, while 14% of them approved of bombing attacks.

The survey results from LaKIP also revealed that 48.9% of students were willing to participate in religious or morality-based violence, as well as reflected a willingness by 63% of the students to take part in actions against churches, or any other places of religious worship.

LaKIP conducted its survey in public/state schools. Can we imagine the results if a similar assessment were held in the thousands of Islamic-based schools?

According to the Sapulidi Research Center who collected data and information from the EMIS database of the Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry, there were approximately 76,583 Islamic schools (madrasah) – from elementary to senior high school – in Indonesia in 2015. And also there were also 27,230 pesantren (Islamic boarding school) with 3,759,198 students – both male and female – as of 2012.

Is FDS the answer?

Minister Muhadjir can no longer deny the situation in which acute radicalization has vastly spread within the contemporary education system. If he agrees that Indonesia faces such a situation, then it is mandatory for him to convince me, and millions of other Indonesians, that FDS will guarantee neutralizing the disease of intolerance.

Honestly, I am probably worried most deeply that his FDS policy will position the students as a “captive audience” for the kind of religious teaching that is cold and egoist and might promote a culture of intolerance, as well as to create a breeding ground amenable to potential acts of violence.

But of course, the FDS will only happen through billions from the public support budget – funded by the taxes we all pay.

Best wishes on your work, Minister! Wallohua’lam bish shawab. –

Aan Anshori is the Coordinator of JIAD (Islamic Network against Discrimination) and GUSDURian. Follow him on Twitter @aananshori.

Please note that opinion pieces published on Rappler do not necessarily reflect the views of this organization.

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