When Japan was defeated in World War II, the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ collapsed. As the highest leader, The Emperor, Hirohito, felt the urge to do something to prevent further downfall. The first thing he asked was: “How many teachers left that we have?” It was the legendary statement of The Emperor which showed how importance education is to build human resources for a nation. Just like a building, education is one of the pillar to keep the nation strong and steady. Indonesia, a country with more than 240 million citizens, is supposedly put education as priority to advance civilization in order to prepare its people to face the development era. However, unfortunately, there are many citizens who are careless with the importance of education. These people, who mostly come from lower income families, are being ignorant with the impact the education will bring to their future life. What is more important for them is to survive the economic hardships without realizing that good education will eventually open the opportunity to earn higher income. The data from UNICEF 2011 showed that there are 2.5 millions of children who do not have access to basic education (elementary and middle school).Since the beginning, our Founding Fathers have realized the significant value of education which was then reflected in this country’s constitution, where its stated that each citizen reserves the right to education.Now, with nine-year compulsory education program stipulated by the government, supplemented by educational incentives – such as Kartu Indonesia Pintar – we hope that education in Indonesia will be moving forward. Hopefully, more and more people will realize that education is important. Moreover, if we consider the data from a research in the United States in 2010. Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) mentioned that with lack of education, only 17% of people will be successful. The opportunity will be doubled if they are exposed to higher education level. If the society realize the importance of education, glory and welfare for Indonesia is more feasible. The aspiration of the Father of Indonesian National Education, Ki Hadjar Dewantara, is also possible to achieve. Ki Hadjar Dewantara said that “Lawan sastra ngesti mulya” or “Dengan ilmu kita menuju kemuliaan” (“with knowledge, we march toward glory”).Good deed is never late. We can use the philosophy from Ki Hajar Dewantara to catch up with our backwardness in education sector. If another country such as Japan can do it, we surely can do it as well.
Page 32 of 39