Constitutional & Legal Foundations
The national educational system draws heavily from the Indonesian culture. The system-based on Pancasila, the 1945 State Constitution, and the National Education Law No. 2/1989 aims to "generate abilities and to increase the standard of living and dignity of the Indonesian people in order to achieve the national development objectives."
Undergirding all government programs is Pancasila, Indonesia's state philosophy. Also known as the Five Principles, Pancasila was first articulated by President Sukarno on 1 June 1945 when declaring Indonesian independence. The Five Principles serve as the nation's blueprint for Indonesian society and way of life. These basic truths are presented visually in the nation's coat of arms and are actively taught in school. In fact, the entire first week of each new school term is called "Pancasila Week."
The following values constitute Pancasila:
- Belief in "One Supreme God"
- A call for a just and civilized humanity—not tolerating physical or spiritual oppression of any person
- Promoting nationalism and Indonesian unity—a concept of one nation and one language binding together the country's diverse people
- Pancasila-style democracy—this calls for discussion (musyawarah) and mutual assistance (gotong royong) establishing a national authority of consensus (mufakat) rather than domination
- A system of social justice—assuring equal distribution of welfare and the protection of the weak
Building upon the state's philosophy is the 1945 State Constitution, Article 31 which assures that "Every citizen has a right to obtain an education and that the government shall create and execute a system of national education provided by law." The National Education Law No. 2/1989 provides the foundation for one national education system to be universally implemented in a complete and totally integrated manner. Universal means open to all people and valid throughout the country; complete means to cover all channels, levels and types of education; and integrated means that there are mutual supporting links between all types and levels of national education and development efforts.
The National Education Law further issued two objectives of the national education system: first, to establish a high-quality and self-reliant human being whose values are based on Pancasila, the state philosophy; secondly, to keep and maintain Indonesia's cultural background while at the same time generating the knowledge, skills, and scientific progress that will keep the nation abreast in the twenty-first century. National education aspires to improve the life of the nation along with fully developing the intellectual, moral, spiritual, physical, and social capacity of its citizens. (This National Education Law gains support from the Presidential Decree No. 10, 1973 launching compulsory primary education for 7 to 12 year olds and the Government Regulation No. 28/1990 expanding compulsory education to every Indonesian 7-15 years of age. President Suharto reiterated this national policy of compulsory education in 1994.)
The National Guidelines of the State Policy of 1993 stress that the nation will pursue a three-pronged approach to development. Speaking directly to the education aspect, President Suharto's speech to the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on 6 January 1993, emphasized, "We have to see that education is being developed more fairly and equally to meet the needs of development and to be able to produce output in the form of human resources of quality . . . . Education should be directed to and in accordance to the need of productive working power in all sectors, in all fields and in all development activities."
In 1994 Indonesia entered the nation's second 25 Year Development Plan (PJP II). The most significant aspect of PJP II is the strong emphasis on human resources development through a commitment to excellence in science and technology equal to that of other developed nations.
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