Deprived: The Dumbing of Indonesia
By N. Mark Castro
In a country where recent and continuous discovery of new species of flora and fauna abound, it is indeed highly perplexing that the Ministry of Education and Culture would be the department that would initiate the scrapping of Science from the curriculum.
If at all, the Ministry should be at the forefront of defending such academic right of the students if threatened by budgetary constraints and/or pervasive and invasive criticisms of the conservative Moslems. And the Ministry should also be the first to promote further enhancement in teaching the subject to young children so that they could appreciate early the bountiful riches and natural resources with which the country is so blessed.
As such, despite consultations with academic and non-academic experts, the Ministry of (Mis)Education and (Un)Culture has decided to pursue the elimination of Science as a subject in public and private schools, including English. At one point, Mathematics has also been considered by the Ministry to be dropped from the subject list. Instead of enhancing such delicate subjects, the Ministry has instead decided to drop it. And with the lack of deeper academic training from the current pool of underpaid teachers, they are further burdened to incorporate subjects from which they have little or no training at all.
Indeed, what the Ministry has shown in this uneducated display of misplaced wisdom is its utter inability to manage a department that’s already saddled with problems: from classrooms that burn to ill-equipped facilities. Instead of allocating its high funds to more progressive programs, it deducts subjects that would have allowed the next generation of Indonesians to compete — if not dominate world market.
While English is dropped as an elective subject, young Indonesians might as well drop from its vocabulary words such as: compete, dominate, excel. For how can you compete globally, despite the various encouraging subsidies provided by other ministries, when the very foundation by which all knowledge is shaped is reduced by the very same Minister that is supposed to promote and expand it. And, ironically, all for the purported ideals that has not been implemented, promoted, nor displayed by the elected and appointed elders of the land.
And see we hardworking parents being robbed by the highly-priced yet highly inefficient educational system of the country, yet forging ahead to give their children a better life than the one they found. Yet we have here the Ministry of Education and Culture that deprives them of such opportunity.
Fifteen hundred years ago, almost as old Islam, everybody “knew” that the earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody “knew” that the earth was flat. And it took forever for the Catholic Church to admit its dogmatic mistake and pardon the excommunication of Galileo Galilee.
And a few months ago, just before this new policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture, you “knew” that the Minister appointed by the President had some life form intelligence.
Imagine what you’ll “know” tomorrow.
Imagine, further, if we chose from the 250 Million Indonesians at least 1 Million who would study nothing else for a year except French culture and language. If another 1 Million would study nothing else but Chinese culture and language. If another 1 Million would study nothing else but Indian culture and language. And if another 1 Million would study nothing else but English culture and language.
Imagine the millions that we would deploy to the world, the millions that would remit back the money they worked hard for, and return to the earth of their birth, grateful for the education that the government subsidized.
And why not?
We have oil … but we’re just too damn lazy to do it ourselves.