The history of women in education has been vast and substantial yet still underappreciated. In recorded history, women’s role began to be acknowledged in 19th century America. As Christine A. Woyshner and Bonnie Hao Kuo Tai stated in “The History of Women in Education” Symposium in 1997, women started to “play central roles in education” in the 1800s. They worked as teachers and learners both in informal and formal settings throughout the U.S.
In Indonesia, Raden Ajeng Kartini had begun a women emancipation movement through education more than a century ago. Another prominent figure in Indonesia’s education is Ki Hajar Dewantara who was the first Minister of National Education and widely known for pioneering education for marginalized commoners with his Taman Siswa school.
To raise awareness of both figures and their visions as well as to motivate more young Indonesians to become teachers, Faculty of Education at Sampoerna University held “Kartini Dewantara Festival” in Jakarta on May 4th-5th, 2019 which highlighted the role of women in the age of Education 4.0. There were 125 participants, who were teachers, lecturers, education practitioners and so on.
Speaking as one of the keynote speakers at Education Sharing Network (ESN) Seminar which was part of the festival was Najelaa Shihab (the founder of Sekolah Cikal). “Education gives opportunities to women to express themselves,” she said. “And it makes education become the first and convenient field for women to seek career and developing opportunities. As shown by Kartini in the past, it inspired women nowadays to pursue an equitable education as what the men do. Meanwhile, the learning process and the assessment of the learning are still not women-friendly. Therefore, it needs us to work together for the betterment of education Indonesia,” Najeela argued.
Another speaker on stage to share her views on the issue was Maria Harfanti, Miss Indonesia 2015 (runner-up of Miss World 2015). Having founded Yayasan Bangun Sekolah, she learns the importance of having a proper education for everyone regardless of their gender, economic status, and so forth. She affirmed the close ties, saying,“Women and education are closely related. The role of women has a strong impact on improving the quality of education in Indonesia.”
To conclude the festival, the list of winners of three competitions held previously was announced. The winner of Kartini’s Letter Reading Competition was SMA 1 Kanisius. Meanwhile, Ridwan Agus Tesyah of SMAN 1 Leuwiliang secured the top spot at the Speech Competition and Dhimas Ramaditya Harpanri won the Photography contest. (*/)