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Modernization, Class and Inequality in Indonesia Higher Education

Modernization, Class and Inequality in Indonesia Higher Education

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Published by pskpi
“One of the great achievement of capitalism is to develop human productive capacity to
such an extent that it makes the radical egalitarianism needed for human flourishing
materially feasible, yet capitalism also creates institutions and power relations that block
the actual achievement of egalitarianism” (E. O. Wright, 2005, p. 7)
“One of the great achievement of capitalism is to develop human productive capacity to
such an extent that it makes the radical egalitarianism needed for human flourishing
materially feasible, yet capitalism also creates institutions and power relations that block
the actual achievement of egalitarianism” (E. O. Wright, 2005, p. 7)

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Published by: pskpi on Oct 27, 2010
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11/11/2011

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PAPER*Modernization, Class, and Inequality in Indonesia’s Higher Education
Sulaiman Mappiasse
 Email: sm9@hawaii.edu
Ph.D. ProgramDepartment of SociologyUniversity of Hawaii
 
*Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Hawaii Forum at East-West Center September 6, 2008
 
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Modernization, Class, and Inequality in Indonesia’s Higher Education
1
 
“One of the great achievement of capitalism is to develop human productive capacity tosuch an extent that it makes the radical egalitarianism needed for human flourishingmaterially feasible, yet capitalism also creates institutions and power relations that block the actual achievement of egalitarianism” (E. O. Wright, 2005, p. 7)
Introduction
This article is intended to examine how education system
has
increasingly become aneffective screening device to include certain groups of people and exclude others fromentering higher education based on their class situations in Indonesia. In other words, it isinterested in exploring factors (i.e. structural and cultural) involved in the making of education system in Indonesia as a tool of social exclusion. I argue that this phenomenonresults from the process of modernization movement characterized with educationalinstitutionalization driven by class and political interests alongside with the global andcapitalist forces in Indonesia since 50s. Afterward, education system became a state sub-institution believed to have an ability to equalize citizen life chances through equaldistributions of knowledge and education resources to the people. However, different classinterests within class relations occurring in society has been transferred and embedded intothis “equalizing” institution – a process that has weakened its equalizing power. Interestingly,there is a relatively corresponding relationship between the degree of state power and of theeducation agency as an equalizer.Class interests and relations can be found both at micro and macro level (for microand macro definition, see Wright, 2005, p. 19-20). Therefore, it is desirable in this article toexamine the issue at both levels, under the assumption that what is happening at the macrolevel should have effects on the micro level and vice versa. While at the macro level,
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Sulaiman
 
Mappiasse,
 
Paperwork
 
Pusat
 
Studi
 
Kesenjangan
 
Pendidikan
 
Indonesia
 
(PSKPI),
 
Email
 
info.center@pskpi.org
 
http://www.palioijayabiz.com
 
 
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globalization, state, and class structure are assumed to have affected Indonesia’s educationsystem, at the micro level, on the other hand, it is assumed that market division andreproduction of class culture have influences on it.It is expected that by being able to explain these class interests and relations at microand macro level, I will be able to show how the process of “rational” modernization inIndonesia has contributed significantly to the creation of two types of citizens – first who areincluded and allowed to have privilege in entering higher education system; and second, whoare excluded and removed from having opportunities to perform class and educationmobility.
Inequality in Indonesia’s Education System
The principal constitution of Indonesia (UUD 45) states explicitly that the main aim of thecountry as a nation-state is to “educate its people in order to bring prosperity for all.” Thisideal type of national commitment to realize “education for all” has been translated bydeveloping a national system of education since 1954 to the present. Along with its politicaland economical changes, equality to access education always becomes the main goal of itseducational programs. However, it is argued that policy changes in education to attenuateinequality of access to education have been proved to fail. Of subsidies for higher educationin 1978, 83 percent had been enjoyed by the students from higher income groups (Fahmi,2007). Zhao (2006) found that government effort to expand access to mass education from1970-1997 has increased participation in primary education, but it has not reduced theexisting structured inequality in educational mobility.Fahmi (2007) mentioned several studies from other developing countries indicatingthat both mass higher education system (e.g. Kariwo, 2007; Salmi & Hauptman, 2006; Lewis& Dundar, 2002; Gunawardena, 1999; Ziderman & Albrecht, 1994; and Psacharopouslos,1991) and privatized higher education system (e.g. Espinoza, 2007) were found failing to

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