Youth’s Success for Indonesia’s Better Future
A great national figure from Indonesia, Pak Soekarno, once stood in front of a large audience and gave an inspiring, heart moving speech that quotes, “Bring me 10 young men, and I shall shake the world!”
This sentence that he delivered long ago will always be a reminder for each and every one of us of the one true fact; that the youth in every generation is responsible in leaving a page worthy of a life-changing story to at least one history book in the world. Take an example from Kartini, Robert Wolter Mongsidi, and Ignatus Slamet Rijadi, who all died hero in their young age with their burning passion to make changes in our country. They are all prided for standing tall with their youthful courage that has proven that their spirit can leave their names known until eternity.
This takes us to the one conclusion that will bring us forward to what I want to highlight. Youth, ladies and gentlemen. When you ask, who is capable of bringing Indonesia to its success? Then I will give you one answer—the youth. They are the key to many doors of opportunities opening up for this country, they’ve always been, unfortunately, most teenagers in Indonesia still struggle to perform and deliver their outstanding ability in getting this country out of its current state. Now, how does this happen, exactly?
As we all know, teenagers’ successions are strongly depended on their academic education that they receive at school. In Indonesia, the government runs a strict policy according to school hours and the amount of subjects that high school students have to take. We are required to take up to forty-four hours a week at school and take up to twelve subjects. While this is the current approved regulation, the effectivity of this policy has yet to be proven when compared to the success that foreign teenager achieve in other country.
We need to carefully compare these facts with those from other country proven more successful to see just how much discrepancy we have with others. Today, we’ll take England as comparison. To ensure the credibility of the information, I looked up in the internet and met a student from England who is around my age. We spoke directly through Skype, and I asked him a few questions about the school policy in his homeland. There are two points from his explanation that stood out that I would like to bring attention to. The first one is the school hours spent by the students there. This student, his name is David, explained that students spend just seven hours (from nine to four) a day at school. Second, students are required to take only certain subjects that they are interested in. In addition to that information, the students also still get four breaks a year.
Some of you might think, what is the correlation between that information to Indonesia’s youth’s success? Let’s analyze this carefully, starting from the first issue, which is the length of educational hours in Indonesia. As I stated before, us high school students are required to take up to forty-four hours a week. Now, as a student myself, I have experienced this since I began high school, and I can objectively state that this is taking too much toll on most students. The reason why the government ran the new curriculum was because they wanted to produce creative students who seek for answers rather than receiving them whole. While this innovation is certainly different and new, unfortunately, the amount of hours that we are receiving at school prevents this innovation to come true. Too much report at how tired students are up online, and instead of shaping creative individuals for the future, the school hours only shape a robotic state in every student with their studying-resting-sleeping routine. The exhaustion that students get prevents creative ideas to form, and therefore contradicts the initial purpose. Let’s take a look at England’s education policy, in which they are to spend only 39 weeks of school according to london.angloinfo.com, in Indonesia, we are spending only about six to seven weeks of holiday a year, and our education rank is at 64th in the world (http://www.prestasi-iief.org). Logically thinking, with more hours we spend on studying, it’s only natural that our rank can be higher than England’s, which is at 3rd rank in the world (www.worldtop20.org), but as the facts state, we are at far below, nowhere near reaching that quality that England has.
The second issue is the amount of subjects that Indonesia’s students are obliged to take. Students are to take 12 mandatory subjects, while England only requires 8 with 4 other additional subjects that students get to choose whether to take or no (https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum/key-stage-3-and-4). While I am not stating that this system is better, we need to think this through carefully. One of the most worrying reason of why we should support letting students take the subjects they want is because sadly, there had been too many students questioning their time at school and wonder, “When am I going to use this subject in real life?” or “What am I learning this for if I want to be this or that?”.
In this country, while we are still letting students choose their major according to their own interest between social and science studies, the government is still, in a way, forcing students on taking subjects that they might not have interest in. Students, especially at the age of fifteen above, have the importance of determining where they want to go next in the future, and if we can take an example from England’s Key Stage 4 curriculum, it will be more beneficent for them as they are allowed to make choices and broaden their knowledge in what they are actually interested in. With their determination on achieving their own dreams, they will see school as something that can help them reach their goal instead of waking up to school feeling like it is a chore.
If these methods are implemented here, we can ensure one great future for all of us. Remember, our national figures, such as Kartini, R. W. Mongsidi, and Slamet Rijadi all managed to bring Indonesia to its high throne because they had help, because their torches were lit up brightly by a nation that supported their endless struggle and craved for the same goal. Therefore, to reach that success, not only do we have to work for it, but everyone here must be in a position to support the ideas, starting from setting youth’s spirit in education back to where it’s supposed to be. Some of you are skeptical, and maybe some of you are hopeful, but remember this, a change will happen, no matter when. The question is when the world shapes itself into what we want it to be, when the government fixes certain policies in favor for Indonesia’s success, will we, as the nation’s golden hope, be there to take a step forward and leave a page worthy of a history book? As you take that thought into heart, I will only say this once. When everything transform into how we wish things to be, we can’t let words be left into only just words. So ready your arm, take a step forward, because as this nation’s youth, we will be the one to shake the world.