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Ki Hadjar Dewantara, Indonesia First Minister of National Education

Let’s get to know Indonesia National Figure, Ki Hadjar Dewantara!

The greatness of the figure Ki Hadjar Dewantara the 1st Minister of National Education RI. Ki Hadjar is one of the national heroes who has an important role in advancing and laying the foundation for the development of Indonesian education.

1. Biography

Ki Hadjar Dewantara was born in Yogyakarta on May 2, 1889 under the name Raden Mas Soewardi Soeryaningrat. Ki Hajar Dewantara was raised in the Yogyakarta palace family. When he was 40 years old according to the Caka Year count, Raden Mas Soewardi Soeryaningrat changed his name to Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Since then, Ki Hadjar Dewantara no longer uses the title of nobility in front of his name. This is intended so that Ki Hadjar Dewantara can be free to be close to the people. 

His parents named Prince Soeryadiningrat (father) and Raden Ayu Sandiah (mother). He is married to Nyi Sutartinah and has six children named Ratih Tarbiyah, Syailendra Wijaya, Bambang Sokawati Dewantara, Asti Wandansari, Subroto Aria Mataram and Sudiro Alimurto. As a person that came from the aristocratic family environment of the Pakualaman Duchy. From this noble family background he has the right to get an education at the time, thus beginning his journey to pursue the right of equal education in Indonesia.

2. Education

When he was young, he completed his basic education at ELS (Europeesche Lagere School) or elementary school during the colonial era of the Dutch East Indies in Indonesia. He also briefly continued his education at STOVIA (School tot Opleiding van Indische Artsen), a medical education school in Batavia in the colonial era of the Dutch East Indies namely a school created for the education of indigenous doctors in the city of Batavia during the Dutch East Indies colonial period., but did not graduate due to illness.  

He obtained a prestigious education diploma in the Netherlands, known as the Europeesche Deed. The diploma can then help him establish various educational institutions in Indonesia. In 1957, he received an honorary doctorate (doctor honoris causa, Dr.H.C.) from Gadjah Mada University.

3. Influences

National Education Day of Indonesia which is celebrated every May 2 coincides with the birthday of the Father of National Education in Indonesia, Ki Hadjar Dewantara. He was a national hero who dared to oppose the education policy of the Dutch East Indies government at that time.The policy which is opposed is the policy on education which can only be felt by children born in the Netherlands or children of the wealthy class. His criticism of government policy at the time made him exiled to the Netherlands. But he was a hero in the eye of Indonesian.

Ki Hadjar Dewantara actively socialized in the student organization from Indonesia, namely Indische Vereeniging (Indian Association). In 1913, Ki Hadjar Dewantara founded the Indonesisch Pers-bureau, or Indonesian news agency. In November 1913, Ki Hadjar Dewantara formed the Bumipoetra Committee which aimed to launch criticism of the Dutch Government. One of them is by publishing an article titled Als Ik Eens Nederlander Was (If I Am a Dutchman) and Een voor Allen maar Ook Allen voor Een (One for All, but All for One Also) in which both writings have become famous writings to this day. The article If I were a Dutchman was published in the newspaper de Expres owned by Dr. Douwes Dekker.

As a result of his writing, the Dutch colonial government through Governor General Idenburg handed down the sentence of exile against Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Douwes Dekker and Cipto Mangoenkoesoemo who felt that their comrades were treated unfairly published writings in a tone that defended Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Knowing this, the Dutch decided to sentence them to exile. Douwes Dekker was banished in Kupang while Cipto Mangoenkoesoemo was banished to the island of Banda.

But they wanted to be banished to the Netherlands because there they could learn more from remote areas. Finally they were allowed to the Netherlands since August 1913 as part of the execution of the sentence. The opportunity was used to explore the problems of education and teaching, so Ki Hadjar Dewantara succeeded in obtaining Europeesche Deed. In 1918, Ki Hadjar Dewantara returned to his homeland

In 1919, he joined as a teacher in his brother’s fostered school. Over time, the teaching experience he used to develop new teaching methods for the school he founded. The school founded by Ki Hadjar Dewantara is the National Onderwijs Institut Taman Siswa or better known as Taman Siswa. This school was founded on July 3, 1922 in Jogjakarta. The basic principle in the Taman Siswa school is known as the Patrap Triloka. This principle is then used as a guide for teachers. Patrap Triloka has important elements in it. An important element of Javanese in the Patrap Triloka is “ing ngarsa sung tuladha, ing madya mangun karsa, tut wuri handayani” which means “in front of giving examples, in the middle of encouraging, behind giving encouragement”. Until now the Patrap Triloka is used as a guide and guide in the world of education in Indonesia.

Ki Hadjar Dewantara had served as the first Minister of Teaching for Indonesia (his post was referred to as the first Minister of Education, Teaching and Culture). For all his services in the world of education, he was declared the Father of Indonesian National Education and his birth day was made as National Education Day (Presidential Decree No. 305 of 1959, 28 November 1959). There are still many contributions of Ki Hadjar Dewantara in the realm of education in Indonesia. 

4. The Death of Ki Hadja Dewantara

Ki Hadjar Dewantara died on April 26, 1959 in Yogyakarta and then was buried in Taman Wijaya Brata. But even so, his services will never disappear in time. In honor of his services, Ki Hadjar Dewantara was awarded the National Hero of the Republic of Indonesia

“Whatever is done by someone, should be able to benefit themselves, benefit the nation, and benefit humans in the world at large.”

– Ki Hadjar Dewantara

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