Semarang, Department of History, Faculty of Humanities (FIB), Diponegoro University (Undip) on March 12, 2022 held a Workshop on Historical Methodology Series V with the theme of History of Education. On this occasion, Dr. Dhanang Respati Puguh, M.Hum., as the Head of History Department said that this workshop was intentionally initiated by the History Department to enrich the understanding of thesis topics for Undip History undergraduate students. Since 2020, similar workshops have been held with various themes, including environmental history, biographies, cultural history, visual history, and urban history.

With a track record of abundant scientific publications related to the history of education, which have been published in various reputable international journals, such as the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Bijdragen tot de taal-, land-en volkenkunde, History and Education, and others, it is very appropriate if History Department of Undip invited Dr. Agus Suwignyo, M.A., from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) as the speaker on this occasion.

“We will start the discussion on the history of education with a question. Are there any peculiarities of the theme of history of education? Or is it just an integration of history and education?” said the UGM lecturer who often shares his research in the Kompas daily.

The workshop, which was moderated by Mahendra Pudji Utama, S.S., M.Hum., became a valuable space to discuss the interaction of historical studies with education. In fact, the study of the history of education can be traced from various approaches because it has a broad spectrum. The approach to the study of the history of education does not have to be based on the science of education or teaching because education is a cultural spectrum. Schools and classrooms are part of a community that has a unique subsystem. Education is seen as a cultural spectrum containing political, economic, social, and schooling dimensions. In addition, there are distinctive elements that surround this study, particularly in terms of methodology.

On this occasion, Dr. Agus explained about the scope of education as a spectrum of culture and even politics, which cannot be separated from tangible and intangible elements. For example, the curriculum can not only be seen as a tangible material object and become an educational instrument, but further than that, the curriculum can be a reflection of a certain, larger political view of education.

“The curriculum may be born from the process of negotiating power to reach a compromise that is formulated in the curriculum. Of course, we cannot focus only on the content of the curriculum without completing the context that encloses the curriculum. Apart from that, textbooks also reflect a certain political view of the time,” said Dr. Agus.

Thus, the history of education does not exist in a vacuum. The schooling process always exists in a wider context. Therefore, the history of education can use approaches of politics, public policy, economics, science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and others. For example, research on Taman Siswa schools is conducted from an economic perspective. It analyzes how Taman Siswa can survive despite not being cooperative with the Dutch colonial government, while many schools were shaky due to unstable funding sources. Taman Siswa, which was born from the study of economic theory, became a very interesting discourse. Reviews of Taman Siswa are not only seen from the tangible elements of schooling as the developing major narrative, but it can also be seen from various approaches and methodologies. Therefore, understanding the history of education only from the schooling spectrum will make historical historiography very dry.

Another example is on how a tangible schedule reflects a particular cultural or political dimension. This can be read in the schedule of subjects at school. In 1914, the Dutch colonial government always placed religion lessons outside school hours, namely after 12:45 PM. Religion lesson starts at 02:00 AM. That is the implementation of religion lessons at the Jetis High School in Yogyakarta, where K.H. Ahmad Dahlan had been a religious teacher there. “From the case of subjects, we can read with other frameworks, which carry the scope of politics and policies with sociological nuances,” explained Dr. Agus.

(Fanada Sholihah – History Department)