Monday, May 11, 2015



Wisdom can be defined as the “power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience, understanding, etc.” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 1997, p. 1533). Such power has its significance in the field of education. These days there has been a paradigm shift from the knowledge-based to wisdom-based approach to education.

As a culturally rich country, Indonesia has a wide variety of cultural assets and local wisdoms. They have their own characteristics, strengths, and limitations. Indonesia therefore is demanded to preserve and foster these “cultural roots for crystallization, ideological boundaries for protection and filtering, replacement of poor components, digestion of global knowledge, and total openness to localize global knowledge in the process of globalizing education” (Cheng, 2002).

The most prominent local wisdom is proposed by Ki Hajar Dewantara.  He was “a leading Indonesian independence, movement activist, writer, columnist, politician, and pioneer of education, for native Indonesians in Dutch colonial times”. Then he was honored as a National Hero of Indonesia by Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, on 28 November 1959. He was active in their propaganda service to socialize and promote public awareness of Indonesia as a national unity (especially in Java), at the time emphasize about the importance of the unity of the nation (Wikipedia).

This paper addresses what Ki Hajar Dewantara has proposed for local knowledge and wisdom for the developments of individuals and the local community through integration of localization and globalization in education.

 Ki Hajar Dewantara’s Concepts of Education

This section reveals what has been advocated by Ki Hajar Dewantara for Indonesian education. It includes (1) education for all, (2) Ing ngarso sung tulodo, ing madyo mangun karso, tut wuri handayani,

Education for All (EFA)
Ki Hajar Dewantara suggests that education should be made possible and available for all people, regardless of their sex, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, economic and social status, etc. He argued that education should be based on the values of common or shared humanity, human freedom and the rights to seek knowledge.
This is in line with UNESCO Publishing through the EFA Global Monitoring Report (2007) entitled “Education for All by 2015: Will we Make it?” marks the midway point in an ambitious international movement to expand learning opportunities for every child, youth and adult in the world by 2015. It pertains to “the expansion of early childhood care and education, the achievement of universal primary education, the development of learning opportunities for youth and adults, the spread of literacy, the achievement of gender parity and gender equality in education and improvements in education quality” (p. 5). This has been at the heart of the world-wide efforts in improving quality of education for all (Nanzhao, n.d.).

 Ing ngarso sung tulodo, ing madyo mangun karso, tut wuri handayani
There is a popular proverb by Ki Hajar Dewantara revealing his ideals for education. It was stated in Javenese. The sayings read: Ing ngarso sung tulodo, ing madyo mangun karso, tut wuri handayani. Which translates: "(for those) in front should set an example, (for those) in the middle should raise the spirit, and (for those) behind should give encouragement". Today, part of the proverb, Tut Wuri Handayani is used as the motto of Indonesian Ministry of Education. It was meant to describe an ideal teacher, after transmitting knowledge to their students, the teacher would stand behind their students and give them encouragements in their quest for knowledge (ibid).
This implies that the roles of a teacher cover developing a positive, respectful, professional and ethical code of conduct in relation to students, parents, and colleagues, and maintaining positive, supportive, professional relationships within the education community. A teacher, in this instance, should be a role model for students, colleagues, and community in general. Also, he or she should serve as facilitator as a mentor and learning facilitator.

Development of a “complete” person

According to Dewantara, education should strive to develop learners as a “complete” person. This insight infers that learners should be viewed as both individuals and members of society. In addition, education should enable students to become not only successful learning achievers at school but also responsible citizens, effective workers, caring community members, and life-long learners, in an increasingly interdependent world.

This has also been conceptualized by UNESCO (1972) that the aim of development in education is directed towards the complete fulfillment of man in all the richness of his personality- cultivating qualities of imagination and creativity; acquiring universally shared human values; developing aspects of a person’s potential: memory, reasoning, aesthetic sense, physical capacity and communication/social skills; developing critical thinking and exercising independent judgment; and developing personal commitment and responsibility.


Ki Hajar Dewantara’s proposed concept for the Indonesian education portrays the necessary characteristics of the Indonesian education. It needs to be developed for “a broadened vision of educational goals, to facilitate holistic approaches to reorganizing educational contents, and to build national capacity in developing key competencies required of all learners through curriculum renewal in emerging knowledge-based societies of the 21st century” (Nanzhao, n. d).


Cheng, Y. C. (2002). Fostering Local Knowledge and Wisdom in Globalized Education: Multiple Theories. Paper presented at The 8th International Conference on “Globalization and Localization Enmeshed: Searching for a Balance in Education”, November 18-21, 2002, Bangkok, Thailand.
Nanzhao, z. (n.d). Four Pillars of Learning for the Reorientation and Reorganization of Curriculum: Reflections and Discussions.
UNESCO Publishing. (2007). The EFA Global Monitoring Report: Education for All by 2015: Will We Make It? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wikipedia. (2015). Ki Hajar Dewantara.


  1. This implies that the roles of a teacher cover developing a positive, respectful, professional and ethical code of conduct in relation to students, parents, and colleagues, and maintaining positive, supportive, professional relationships within the education community.

    Matric Result 2015 BISE Sargodha Board

    1. Yes, I agree with you. Teachers should internalize the code of conduct as they serve as a role model for their students, colleagues, and their community.