A Critical Study on the Functions of the "Local Curriculum" ("Muatan Lokal") in Indonesia. <Articles>
Local Curriculum (Muatan Lokal) as a specific course taught in elementary and early secondary schools, was added to curriculum policy in 1994 as part of abroader policy of "Unity Among Many." There to fore, policy was adamantly focused upon unifying the many and diverse ethnic group identities into one, national Indonesian identity. As has been shown in precedent research, the policy's distinctive character lie in the discretionary power given to local administrations to create curriculum appropriate to its cultural needs. The effort was expected to contribute to foster growth of consciousness and attitudes for both the conservation of traditional ethnic culture as well as its development, and to produce people who passessed a love of community and were committed to its development.
Since the inception of this policy, the author has conducted participatory observations of local curriculum classes in elementary and early secondary schools in West Kalimantan, West Java, and West Sumatra, and has found that many of the expected functions of the original policy are in fact being carried out. Nonetheless, according to these observations, there is proof that functions contrary to the original plan are also present in its actual implementation.
These contrary functions can be summarized as follows. First, by presenting a negative image of other ethnic groups and cultures to students, discriminatory consciousness and attitudes are aggravated rather than alleviated. This function will be referred to below as the "Discrimination Against Other Ethnic Cultures" function. Second, by means of denying attention to minority cultures in the state's curriculum, these groups are further pushed to the fringes of community identity and are in essence functionally extinguished. This will be referred to as the "Negation of Other Cultures" function. These functions were not calculated by the programming teams in to the initial proposals of the local curriculum.
Following, the current research begins with an analysis of teacher-student interaction and dialog in numerous classroom situations wherein these contrary functions typically occur. It postulates that these functions are the result of certain factors, and considers the results of observation based up on them. Specifically, the movement of population, ethnic structure of a community, cultural and social conditions and pedagogical factors are considered. Results are as follows.
1) Discrimination Against Other Ethnic Cultures function
Due to transmigration, the Chinese and Javanese ethnic populations have increased in West Kalimantan (movement of population factor). Hence, the ethnic structure, specifically the minority representation has diversified (ethnic structure factor). In addition, the two ethnic groups constructing themajority population of the state, are ranked differently. The Dayaku culture is widely considered inferior to not only the other majority Mulayu culture but to other minority cultures such as the Java (cultural and social conditionsfactor). Furthermore, stemming from these demographic factors, the education institution of this state is challenged with the problem of coping with a situation where the ethnic make-up of teachers and students is inconsistent with the ethnic groups studied (pedagogical factor).
2) Negation of Other Cultures function
The Mentawai people of West Sumatra have evaded any contact with other ethnic cultures outside of that necessary to business transaction (movement/non-movement of population factor). Accordingly, not only are they attributed minority status as a segment of the state's population by numbers, but are recognized as a peripheral and isolated population in the cultural sense as well (ethnic structure factor).
The Minang Kabau people are the majority population in West Sumatra, and the Mentawai are culturally and socially dependent on them (culture and social conditions factor). Based upon, and in addition to, this dependent and hierarchical relationship, study of the Mentawai culture is not included in West Sumatran curriculum, and thus functionally negated. Subsequent educationalissues and problems stem from these demographic factors and are complicated by them. For example, a low evaluation of the quality of teachers is based upon their lack of recognition and respect for human rights and ethnic education resulting from this Negation factor.
These two contrary functions are recognizably extreme. Nonetheless, if, as has been illustrated above, these factors exist simultaneously, they can potentially appear and complicate similar policy efforts in any given state or school.
In effect, there is a high potential for Local Curriculum policy to serve asan apparatus to both aggravate discrimination against other ethnic groups and to create a situation where schools are actually functioning to negate minority ethnic groups and their identities. Research aimed at establishing appropriate curriculum that appreciates equality among individuals as members of communities who vary in cultural identity is essential to the development of successful education policy.