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GROUP 2. Cultural pluralism in Indonesian higher education

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Abstract:

I would like to be considered for the 2011 CIES New Scholar Workshop in support of my dissertation proposal entitled “Cultural pluralism in Indonesian higher education” (Adviser: Dr. Eileen Tamura). Cultural identity is a complex matter in Indonesia, with over 230 million inhabitants, 15,000 islands, 300 ethnic groups, 200 languages, and six officially recognized religions. The Indonesian nation was built on the premise of its diversity, as articulated by its national ideology, Pancasila or “Unity in Diversity.” Yet, since the 1998 Asian meltdown and fall of the Suharto government, the country has experienced increasing sectarian tensions and violent conflicts. Religious and geographical divides are especially problematic, with Islam accounting for eighty-five percent of Indonesians, and Java encompassing sixty percent of the population as well as the majority of political power and economic wealth.

Across these vulnerable partitions, public universities are crucial spaces, where state ideologies and distinct cultures converge in shaping the future of the nation. On one side, the government moves forward its educational agenda through numerous initiatives, including curricula, admission, and assessment requirements. On the other side, students from distinct cultural backgrounds congregate together, negotiate their personal and group identities, and promise to become the next generation of leaders. The transformative potential of public universities is palpable in a rapidly developing country like Indonesia, which urgently needs expertise but has only eighteen percent of its college-age population enrolled in higher education. Graduates from these institutions are thus likely to enter into influential careers and their ability to deliver on the national motto “Unity in Diversity” is imperative for the endurance of the democratic state.

Despite the vast implications of higher education for the Indonesian society, little is known about the current process through which the state, universities and students frame and apply the national motto “Unity in Diversity.” After eight months of seeking extant studies, I have found relevant cultural ethnographies of Indonesian communities, and institutional analyses of Indonesian universities, but a dearth of literature on the tie between culture and universities. During my two-month preliminary research in Indonesia this past summer, professors at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Indonesia, and Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta confirmed the need for a study that investigates the status of “Unity in Diversity” among college students. My research will help to fill this gap and contribute to better practices across multicultural campuses in Indonesia and beyond. Preparing democratic citizens who can function effectively in culturally diverse contexts is essential for the security of all nations.

Three main research questions guide my study. First, how is the Indonesian national motto “Unity in Diversity” interpreted and applied by the Ministry of Education, the Univesitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), and UGM senior-level students from various islands and religions? Second, what are the existing initiatives that aim to foster “Unity in Diversity” in Indonesia’s public higher education? Third, what additional initiatives could promote “Unity in Diversity” in Indonesia’s public higher education? The public UGM will be the focal point of my research, because it is the oldest, largest, and one of the three premier universities in the nation. Moreover, the message “Unity in Diversity” appears across the campus—on street signs, t-shirts, publications, and curricula. The school enrolls twenty-five percent of its total 50,000 students from islands outside Java, offers two mandatory courses on civic education, and requires all undergraduates to engage in eight weeks of community service.

My theoretical framework draws from the intersection of the disciplines of education and cultural studies, including concepts of public sphere by Jurgen Habermas, cultural capital by Pierre Bourdieu, and cultural representation by Stuart Hall. My Grounded Theory methodology is discovery-oriented (hypotheses are derived from data, rather than predetermined), mainly qualitative, but with some quantitative elements: 1) Document analysis at Ministry of Education in Jakarta and UGM, 2) Survey among at least 500 senior-level students at UGM, 3) Interviews with thirty survey participants, plus with some interviewees’ families and Ministry/UGM officials, 4) Observations of UGM campus life, including in cafeterias, club meeting points, offices, and classrooms. All data will be segregated by gender, in order to address possible differences between women and men’s views and experiences.

Participating in the 2011 CIES New Scholar Workshop will be a very valuable part of the preparation for my dissertation proposal and field research. This is my only chance to participate in such beneficial working group at CIES, since I plan to collect data in Indonesia from November 2011 to August 2012, and to defend my dissertation in the summer of 2013.
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Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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MLA Citation:

Logli, Chiara. "GROUP 2. Cultural pluralism in Indonesian higher education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486550_index.html>

APA Citation:

Logli, C. , 2011-05-01 "GROUP 2. Cultural pluralism in Indonesian higher education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486550_index.html

Publication Type: CIES New Scholar Fellow Proposal
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: I would like to be considered for the 2011 CIES New Scholar Workshop in support of my dissertation proposal entitled “Cultural pluralism in Indonesian higher education” (Adviser: Dr. Eileen Tamura). Cultural identity is a complex matter in Indonesia, with over 230 million inhabitants, 15,000 islands, 300 ethnic groups, 200 languages, and six officially recognized religions. The Indonesian nation was built on the premise of its diversity, as articulated by its national ideology, Pancasila or “Unity in Diversity.” Yet, since the 1998 Asian meltdown and fall of the Suharto government, the country has experienced increasing sectarian tensions and violent conflicts. Religious and geographical divides are especially problematic, with Islam accounting for eighty-five percent of Indonesians, and Java encompassing sixty percent of the population as well as the majority of political power and economic wealth.

Across these vulnerable partitions, public universities are crucial spaces, where state ideologies and distinct cultures converge in shaping the future of the nation. On one side, the government moves forward its educational agenda through numerous initiatives, including curricula, admission, and assessment requirements. On the other side, students from distinct cultural backgrounds congregate together, negotiate their personal and group identities, and promise to become the next generation of leaders. The transformative potential of public universities is palpable in a rapidly developing country like Indonesia, which urgently needs expertise but has only eighteen percent of its college-age population enrolled in higher education. Graduates from these institutions are thus likely to enter into influential careers and their ability to deliver on the national motto “Unity in Diversity” is imperative for the endurance of the democratic state.

Despite the vast implications of higher education for the Indonesian society, little is known about the current process through which the state, universities and students frame and apply the national motto “Unity in Diversity.” After eight months of seeking extant studies, I have found relevant cultural ethnographies of Indonesian communities, and institutional analyses of Indonesian universities, but a dearth of literature on the tie between culture and universities. During my two-month preliminary research in Indonesia this past summer, professors at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Indonesia, and Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta confirmed the need for a study that investigates the status of “Unity in Diversity” among college students. My research will help to fill this gap and contribute to better practices across multicultural campuses in Indonesia and beyond. Preparing democratic citizens who can function effectively in culturally diverse contexts is essential for the security of all nations.

Three main research questions guide my study. First, how is the Indonesian national motto “Unity in Diversity” interpreted and applied by the Ministry of Education, the Univesitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), and UGM senior-level students from various islands and religions? Second, what are the existing initiatives that aim to foster “Unity in Diversity” in Indonesia’s public higher education? Third, what additional initiatives could promote “Unity in Diversity” in Indonesia’s public higher education? The public UGM will be the focal point of my research, because it is the oldest, largest, and one of the three premier universities in the nation. Moreover, the message “Unity in Diversity” appears across the campus—on street signs, t-shirts, publications, and curricula. The school enrolls twenty-five percent of its total 50,000 students from islands outside Java, offers two mandatory courses on civic education, and requires all undergraduates to engage in eight weeks of community service.

My theoretical framework draws from the intersection of the disciplines of education and cultural studies, including concepts of public sphere by Jurgen Habermas, cultural capital by Pierre Bourdieu, and cultural representation by Stuart Hall. My Grounded Theory methodology is discovery-oriented (hypotheses are derived from data, rather than predetermined), mainly qualitative, but with some quantitative elements: 1) Document analysis at Ministry of Education in Jakarta and UGM, 2) Survey among at least 500 senior-level students at UGM, 3) Interviews with thirty survey participants, plus with some interviewees’ families and Ministry/UGM officials, 4) Observations of UGM campus life, including in cafeterias, club meeting points, offices, and classrooms. All data will be segregated by gender, in order to address possible differences between women and men’s views and experiences.

Participating in the 2011 CIES New Scholar Workshop will be a very valuable part of the preparation for my dissertation proposal and field research. This is my only chance to participate in such beneficial working group at CIES, since I plan to collect data in Indonesia from November 2011 to August 2012, and to defend my dissertation in the summer of 2013.


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