Jakarta – Indonesian Education Monitoring Network (JPPI) National Coordinator Ubaid Matraji says that the military training on university campuses planned by the Defense Department could weaken student's critical thinking.
"(Military training) will instead blunt logical reasoning itself which should (be) the soul of students", said Matraji when sought for confirmation on Monday August 17.
Matraji said that a love for the motherland among students cannot be forced on them through military training, but rather through dialogue. Matraji is asking that the planned military training be canceled and that more space be given to students to hold discussions.
Speaking in the same vein, education observer Indra Charismiadji said that it is inappropriate to conduct military training on campuses in Indonesia and equated this with the New Order (Orde Baru) regime.
"We know that the Orde Baru's model was like that, but it didn't cultivate a feeling of love for the motherland either", he said.The New Order is the term used for the period under the administration of former president Suharto – which lasted for 32 years – and was characterised by militarism. Suharto fell from power in 1998.
The Suharto administration was also known for its efforts to manipulate history in education and promote the jargon of development as a way to maintain its power. Those who opposed Suharto were labeled anti-development and Suharto often employed the military in development programs.
"So actually a love for the motherland is not like that. Not the militarist model. Unless we needed something like Singapore, because in that small country they require all male citizens to do military service", he continued.
Charismiadji is also asking that the proposed military training not be promoted haphazardly but that there first be a framework with goals, stages and a means of achieving them.
The Defense Department has roped in the Education and Culture Ministry (Kemendikbud) to assist in implementing military training for students as part of the National Defense Program.
Deputy Defense Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono revealed that the program is aimed at instilling a sense of love for the nation and the state among the millennial generation.
"Later, in one semester, they can take part in military training, the assessment can be included in the SKS [Semester Credit Units] which are taken. This is one of the things we're discussing doing with the Kemendikbud", said Trenggono on Monday.
Trenggono also reveled that the department's National Defense Program is aimed at cultivating a sense of pride among millennials at being Indonesian citizens. (ndn/asa)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pengamat Sebut Pendidikan Militer ke Kampus Macam Orde Baru".]