- Raden Ajeng Kartini

I have long hoped that Indonesia’s over reliance on foreign education can be reduced.

As a stateless man who hopes to become an Indonesian citizen, I suggest that some of the money now used to buy overseas education from other countries with different cultures and beliefs be diverted to establishing an international university named after one of my cultural heroes, Raden Ajeng Kartini. 

Kartini was a pioneer of nationalism and education in Indonesia because she absorbed foreign knowledge primarily by reading many books, then acting on her knowledge in Indonesia not overseas.

Perhaps a Kartini International University should be located in one of the proposed sites for a new national capital. Maybe Bung Karno’s favourite of Palangkaraya? Or near Balikpapan which was the scene of the last major battle of World War Two? Palembang, the former seat of the mighty Srivijaya maritime empire, is another possibility. Or perhaps somewhere closer to Jakarta or the Javanese heartland?

I believe that a primary requirement for such a university to be a success is a 50/50 balance of Indonesian and foreign teaching staff. Salaries for everybody would have to be high enough to attract good international minds and the best local minds.

In 2014 President Jokowi proclaimed that Indonesia can be a future poros maritim dunia. (an axis in the oceans for the world) I believe that Indonesia’s greatness will not just be as a maritime nation.

The underlying philosophical orientation of Indonesia to diversity and freedom through the defining concepts of Bhinneka Tunggal Eka, Kemerdekaan and Pancasila means that Indonesia has the potential to be an educational axis not just for Indonesians but for the world.

Indonesian wisdom is a shining light for all.

That is why I want to escape the modern human rights violations of my fromer homeland and become a new Indonesian. Western education no longer supports the intellectual freedom which I need to survive.

If Indonesia invests enough in world class education in Indonesia, Indonesia can help educate a world badly in need of Indonesian wisdom.

Who agrees with me?

Geoff Fox, budayawan, Kutoharjo, Rembang, 07/07/2019