Democracy and Education in Indonesia
Fri 14:00-15:30 Room 0.17
- Saskia Schäfer Humboldt University Berlin
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Democracy and Higher Education in Indonesia
Evi Yuliana Siregar El Colegio de Mexico
The financial crisis of Southeast Asia countries that broke out at the end of the past century, it began with the announcement of the bath devaluation on July 2, 1997. The value of the Thai currency had dropped 70 percent in just six months. The meltdown soon extended to all Southeast Asia countries. The Indonesia’s economic chaos soon became a political and social mayhem. Habibie came up with a broad set of reforms aimed to solve economic, political and social problems, and restore social peace throughout the country. His reform package was called reformasi (‘the reform’), whose keystone was a combination of political autonomy and decentralization aimed to introduce a balance between the central and regional entities.
Democracy and the Changing Landscape of Education in Indonesia
Mutmainna Syam Humboldt University
In the post-reform era, Indonesia’s democratization has faced numerous challenges, including the rise of conservatism, Islamic majoritarianism, and the mainstreaming of intolerance. Focussing on the city of Makassar in Central Indonesia, this paper discusses Islamic organizations and their roles in shaping the education sector. How and why have polarization and competition between various Islamic organisations undermined the democratization in the city? This paper makes two related arguments: First, in a place where no dominant religious authorities prevail – Makassar’s religious landscape is highly fragmented — the new conservative organizations have successfully and rapidly grown. Second, the rapid growth of the religious-conservatives education network has been conditioned by both by the weakening of the national moderate organizations (NU and Muhammadiyah), as well as the new form of competition that characterize what has become an education market.
Democratising Education in Indonesian Schools: Locality, Postcoloniality, and Alternative Constructions of Democracy
Teguh Wijaya Mulya University of Surabaya
The current study concerns the (re)production of democratic citizenry through education, that is, how individuals relate with, internalise, practise, and negotiate democratic values in/through schooling practices in contemporary Indonesian contexts. Complementing previous studies that have pointed out how democratic practices might have been deteriorating in Indonesia in the last decade, the study explores the other side of the spectrum, namely, the ways in which democratic educational practices have survived among some Indonesian schools, and unearths local socio-cultural discourses underpinning their democratic ways of seeing. Co-constructing qualitative data through site visits and interviews with principals of five uniquely democratic Indonesian local schools, the initial findings led the analysis into critical questionings of what democratic education may mean in relation to local contextuality, philosophy, history, and postcoloniality. The Western notion of democratic education characterised by ostensibly universal democratic virtues such as individual freedom, equality, social justice, and participation might have been predicated upon the construction of the autonomous, rational, Enlightenment subject. Exploring how democratic education looks like when it is understood through collective sensibilities, the initial analysis revealed some possible alternative constructions of democratic education including community-groundedness, embodied participation, inclusiveness beyond deliberative practices, and spiritual democracy. By identifying and circulating these alternative constructions, it is hoped that the very idea of democracy and democratic education themselves may continuously be democratised.
Educating conservative Muslim middle class: a case study of the elite Islamic boarding school of Gontor, East Java
Yuji Mizuno Institute of Developing Economies
This study is concerned with the mechanism of how the Islamic educational institutions reproduce religious elites who brought about the “conservative turn” of Indonesian Islam. Post-democratization, Indonesia has seen an increased visibility of political Islam, partly because of the “conservative turn” of the urban middle class, who occupy key positions of society and consolidate its network. The literature points out the destabilizing effect of this conservative middle class toward the nascent democratization project. However, the question of who are the Islamic elites that constitute and lead the conservative Muslim middle class and where they receive education remains a point of significant scholarly interest. On this question, the dominant narrative often highlights the “fundamentalist” and “transnational” ideologies from the Middle East as the source of conservative Islamic reproduction in Indonesia. However, such depictions often leave out the role and ecosystem of local educational institutions capable of reproducing the conservative values to fit the local socio-political context. This study sheds light on the elite Islamic boarding school of Gontor, East Java, and their nationwide network of sister schools as a chief example of local educational institutions with strong Middle Eastern connections that have contributed significantly to the reproduction of Islamizers. Based on the participatory observation in Gontor, interviews, and text analyses, the study shows that Gontor’s leaders firmly stand by the principle of actualizing Indonesia as an Islamically pious country, and their graduate community that penetrates the state, society, and the economy have acted as a networking hub for Islamizers in many parts of Indonesian society.
Islamic Values in Education: Growing Intolerance in Indonesian Public Schools
Dissa Julia Paputungan Humboldt University
After the transition from an authoritarian regime in 1998, western commentators hailed Indonesia as a model democratic Muslim-majority society. However, recent developments have called this interpretation into question. Scholars have identified the “conservative turn”, the rise of Islamic populism, and diminishing roles for Islamic organizations as signs of democratic decline. The religious authorities and society have become hostile towards other religions than Islam, as well as towards minority interpretations within Islam. Moreover, Islamic identity or piety expression are praised in many places and Islam exclusivism has been a prominent practice for society.
Since 1998, Indonesia’s political system has experienced moments and phases of democratization, but also of autocratization. Most recently, the Covid pandemic and the subsequent restrictions in schools have exacerbated inequalities in the realm of education. Assuming that education is a central prerequisite for political participation, this panel focuses on different aspects of the Indonesian educational landscape. Three planned presentations focus on different aspects of Indonesian education. In addition, we welcome contributions in the broad field of Democracy and Education in Indonesia for a fourth presentation. We also invite colleagues interested in this field to serve as discussants on this panel.