Sunday, November 11, 2012

Multi-Cultural Education: Some Problems

Multi-Cultural Education
Some Problems
Arif Hertanto

Abstract  This article discusses three problems of multicultural education: possibility for it to sustain, curriculum content, implementation of the primary. The result is possibly sustainable. The curriculum is determined by the notion, learner’s need, availability of facility, and atmosphere. The State of California matrix for multicultural competence may be helpful of determining the content, and the IBO curriculum requires some adaptation for Indonesian in terms of regional traditions. The implementation requires that the government prepares a lot of things.
key words multi-cultural education, problems

Philosophically, multicultural education is none of novel of Indonesian societal life. Those of statesmen and leading person during the Majapahit kingdom (among other Empu Tantular in Sutasoma Book) crystallized together ness values of many different tribes as one way of life and nation philosophy __ “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” The founding fathers of this republic has finally legalized the nation philosophical values as part of the national symbol “Garuda Pancasila”.  The nation-wide acceptance upon the earth value reflects the value quality and its urgency on the value education of the next generations. Hence a convention, written or not, raised  the  consciousness of the importance of a kind of education system in which the people can maintain the earth value.
            Such a consciousness needs to be continually maintained, as historically some philosophical alternatives have frequently been offered in many ways, not exceptionally through riots and rebellion. In the relation of value maintenance, the new era education integrated the values of togetherness into, among others, several moral subjects such as Pendidikan Moral Pancasila, Wawasan Nusantara, PSPB, and Pancasila as a discipline. Besides, Pancasila as the state philosophy serves as a reference as well as ideal foundation of development and advancement activities authorized. However, the failures of trust and prudence had seemingly become the problem and crises source of moral deviation (among other corruption) before some doubts of the meaning of Pancasila education arouse among the people through the wide-aspects of country life.
The appearing tendency of religion as an alternative offer of state philosophy by some unsatisfying parties support this statement. This tendency may cause deep concerns among people when it goes along with riot and mass crime against the nerves of public interest, facilities and infrastructure.

            Multicultural educations, in respond to the above statements, offer a peace and smart solution. As a value education it focuses on the values of togetherness, eliminating ego-cultural educations. It summons people to be conscious of  self-existence among the others’ and to accept, appreciate and maintain other people or group. Without multicultural education, the tendency of ego-culture will appear out of the learners personalities. This will bring us farther from the national education goal, as stated in Pasal 31 Undang-undang Dasar 1945, “…Pemerintah memajukan ilmu pengetahuan dam teknologi dengan menjunjung tinggi nilai-nilai agama dan persatuan bangsa untuk kemajuan peradaban serta kesejahteraan umat manusia.
            There are some problems: 1) concerning with the rate of faith homoginity  where the majority of Indonesian confess one sort of religion and the appearance of radicalism phenomena, is it possible to hold multicultural education sustain ably?; 2) what is the content of its curriculum?; 3) how is it implemented in the primary?

Sustainability of multicultural education

            Fuad says that Chief Tanfidiah PBNU Abdurrahman Wahid  is … mainly concerned with keeping the state away from meddling with the religious affairs of the people. (Fuad,  2005). This statement indicates that this Islam leader may create the atmosphere in which multicultural education might be developed. In this relation, another Islam leader Madjid says: “These historical Islam’s, in two different times and places, were politically democratic and tolerant and culturally modern, cosmopolitan, open, humanist, progressive, and especially the latter scientific.” (Fuad, 2005). Those statements mean that the leaders see that Islam is not a threat of multicultural education. And this claim is proven by the newly joint instruction as pronunced by Hazim Muzadi (the Chief of PBNU) and Din Samsuddin (chief of PP Muhammadiyah). They say that terrorism is forbidden in Islam.

Curriculumn of multicultural education

            The decision of the sorts of content is according to the writer determined by some aspects: notion, learners’ needs, availability of facilities, and atmosphere
Hornby (1986) suggests the notion of “culture”, as stated below.
1)      the customs and beliefs, art, music, way of life, and social organisation of a       particular country or group (e.g. European, Islamic culture)
2)      art, music, literature, etc thought of as a group (enjoyed by a lot of people)
3)      the beliefs and attitude about sth that people in a particular group or organization share (e. g political culture of the USA, of the UK)
4)      the growing of plants or breeding of particular animals in order to get a particular substance or crop from them (the culture of silkworm for silk).

On multicultural, he states “… for or including people of several different races, religions, languages, and traditions. The writer concludes that  multicultural education is the one applying an approach of many rather than one culture. That is, that taking into account the involvement of various religious beliefs, ways of life, ideology, social organization, traditions of communication, politics, economics, arts, music’s, and literature. Those subjects are to be learned in terms of learning or thinking skills and topical values. He agrees that the State of California matrix of competence may be useful to adopt (in Tiedt, 1990).
  The writer adds another decisive aspect of curriculum content, namely that the school and its staff should be alert of the learners’ need, interests, aptitude, and other potencies. For this purpose, a type of need assessment is required. The realization, however, is yet depends on some conditionally different parties among the learners themselves, their parents, teaching and administrative staff members, as well as the school or institute facilities. Last but not least is the education atmosphere and the authority policy. In this case an assurance should be obtained that the laws and policies are effective and conducive of running for a certain time span during which the educational program may result in significant output.

Implementation of Primary

Stated in IBO (2002), the curriculum of grades 1-6, primary children of 6 to 11 years of age. While  IBO recommends to add the language and culture of their host, the writer thinks that since Indonesia has a great variety of regional traditions, he suggests as follows. The learning areas are: Indonesian, English, Mathematics, History (Indonesian and English), Geography (Indonesian and English), Science, Design and Technology, Art (Regional Tradition, Indonesian and English) and Design, Music (Regional Tradition, Indonesian and English), Physical Education, and Information Technology.


The implementation of multicultural teaching and learning requires that the government prepares a lot of things. A careful study of satisfying curriculum, enrichment of multicultural insights as well as methodology of values teaching among teachers and administrators, furnishing the learning and teaching facilities, as well as infrastructures.


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