Islamic Schools and Social Justice in Indonesia: A Student Perspective

Raihani Raihani
* Sultan Syarif Kasim State Islamic University (UIN Suska) Riau, Indonesia



The study explores how students of two different Islamic Senior Secondary Schools in Palangkaraya, Indonesia experience school practices in regards to social justice. Employing a qualitative approach, the researcher conducted ethnographic observations of the schools’ practices and events, and interviewed more than fifty students of the two schools individually and in groups to understand their feelings and perspectives about how the schools promote social justice among them. The findings suggest that several school structures including the subject stream selection, student groupings, the emergence of the model or international classroom were found to have been sources for social injustice. Students of the Social Sciences and Language groups, of low academic performance and economically disadvantaged admitted the feeling of unfair treatment because of this structuration. Confirming the theory of social reproduction, the schools failed to provide distributive, cultural and associational justices, and reasserted further inequalities among members of society.

[Artikel ini menjelaskan bagaimana siswa pada dua Sekolah Menengah Atas di Palangkaraya, Indonesia merasakan praktik pendidikan di sekolah mereka, khususnya terkait dengan masalah keadilan sosial. Melalui studi kualitatif, penulis melakukan observasi etnografis terhadap praktik pendidikan dan kegiatan sekolah serta melakukan wawancara dengan lebih dari lima puluh orang siswa, baik secara individual maupun dalam kelompok, untuk mengetahui pandangan mereka mengenai bagaimana sekolah mereka mendorong pelaksanaan prinsip keadilan sosial. Artikel ini menemukan bahwa struktur pendidikan di sekolah tersebut, seperti pengelompokan kelas berdasarkan konsentrasi jurusan, pola keberkelompokan siswa, dan munculnya kelas-kelas internasional, menyebabkan ketidakadilan sosial di dalam institusi pendidikan. Siswa kelas Ilmu Sosial dan Bahasa cenderung minim dalam pencapaian akademik, dan secara ekonomi berasal dari kalangan menengah ke bawah. Mereka merasakan bahwa sistem pengelompokan kelas yang berlaku melanggengkan ketidakadilan sosial. Selaras dengan teori reproduksi sosial, sekolah tersebut telah gagal mengimplementasikan keadilan distributif, kultural dan asosiasional, dan bahkan telah melanggengkan ketidakadilan sosial.]

Full Text:



Al-Bukhari, Muhammad b. Ismail, al-Jāmi’ al-Ṣaḥīḥ , edited by Abdul Qadir Syaibah al-Hamad, three vols, vol. 2, Riyad: Maktabah al-Malik Fahd al-Wataniyah Athna al-Nashr, 2008.

Al-Hilali, Muhammad Taqiuddin and Muhammad Muhsin Khan,Translation of The Meanings of The Noble Qur’an in The English Language, Madinah: King Fhad Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, n.d.

Andalan, Boby, “Mendiknas Klaim Pendidikan Indonesia Sukses: Jumlah Peserta Didik di Indonesia Terbesar Ketiga di Asia,”, June 5, 2011.

Aspinall, Edward and Greg Fealy, Local Power and Politics in Indonesia: Decentralisation & Democratisation, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003.

Bandur, Agustinus, A Study of the Implementation of School-Based Management in Flores Primary Schools in Indonesia, The University of Newcastle, Australia, 2008.

Bangay, Colin, “Private Education: Relevant or Redundant? Private Education, Decentralisation and National Provision in Indonesia,” Compare 35, no. 2, 2005, p. 167-79.

Banks, James A, “Multicultural Education and Its Critics: Britain and The United States,” in Sohan Modgil, Gajendra K. Verma, Kanka Mallick and Celia Modgil (eds), Multicultural Education: The Interminable Debate, London: The Falmer Press, 1986.

----, “Multicultural Education: Development, Paradigms and Goals,” in James A. Banks and James Lynch (eds.) Multicultural Education in Western Societies, London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1986.

----, Educating Citizens in A Multicultural Society, New York: Teacher College Columbia University, 1997.

---- (ed.), The Routledge International Companion to Multicultural Education, New York and London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.

Bartlett, Lesley, Marla Frederick, Thaddeus Gulbrandsen, and Enrique Murillo, “The Marketization of Education: Public Schools for Private Ends,” Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 33, no. 1, 2002, pp. 5-29.

Bennet, Christine I., Comprehensive Multicultural Education, 2nd ed., Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1990.

----, “Genres of Research in Multicultural Education,” Review of Educational Research 71, no. 2, 2001, p. 171-217.

Bjork, Chris (ed.), Educational Decentralization: Asian Experiences and Conceptual Contributions, Dordrecht: Springer, 2006.

Bourdieu, Pierre, “The Forms of Capital,” in J. Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for The Sociology of Education, New York: Greenwood, 1986.

----, and Jean-Claude Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture, 2nd ed., London: Sage, 1990.

Clarke, Doug, and Barbara Clarke, “Is Time Up for Ability Grouping?,” Curriculum Leadership, 2008.

Cook-Sather, Alison, “Sound, Presence, and Power: “Student Voice” in Educational Research and Reform,” Curriculum Inquiry 36, no. 4, 2006, p. 359-90.

Corson, David, Changing Education for Diversity, Buckingham: Open University Press, 1998.

Cribb, Alan, and Sharon Gewirtz, “Towards A Sociology of Just Practices: An Analysis of Plural Conceptions of Justice,” in Carol Vincent, (ed.), Social justice, education and identity, London: RoutledgeFalmer, 2005.

Feldman, Rhoda, “Listening to Student Voices,” Visual Art Research, 2003, p. 68-81.

Fraser, Nancy, Justice Interuptus: Critical Reflections on The ‘Postsocialist’ Condition, New York and London: Routledge, 1997.

Fullan, Michael, Change Forces: The Sequel, Philadelphia: Falmer Press, 1999.

Giddens, Anthony, The Constitution of Society: Outline of The Theory of Structuration, Oxford: Polity Press, 1984.

----, Sociology, 4th ed., Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2001.

Giroux, Henry, and David Purpel (eds.), The Hidden Curriculum and Moral Education, California: MrCutchan Publishing Corporation, 1983.

Hallinan, Maureen T, “Ability Grouping and Student Learning,” Brookings Papers on Education Policy, no. 6, 2003, p. 95-140.

----, and Aage B Sorensen, “Ability Groupings and Student Friendship,” American Educational Research Journal 22, no. 4, 1985, p. 485-99.

Kaymakcan, Recep, “Curriculum and Textbook Revisions Regarding The Image of ‘Religious Other’ in Turkish Religious Education,” in Recep Kaymakcan and Oddbjorn Leirvik (eds.), Teaching for Tolerance in Muslim Majority Societies, Istanbul: DEM: Center for Values Education, 2007.

----, and Oddbjorn Leirvik (eds.), Teaching for Tolerance in Muslim Majority Societies, Istanbul: DEM: Centre for Values Education, 2007.

Leithwood, K., “Understanding Successful School Leadership: Progress on A Broken Front,” Journal of Educational Administration 43, no. 6, 2005, p. 619-29.

Lynch, James, Multicultural Education, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.

Mujiburrahman, Feeling Threatened: Muslim-Christian Relations in Indonesia’s New Order, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press/ISIM, 2006.

Oakes, J., Keeping Tracks: How Schools Structure Inequality, London: Yale University Press, 1985.

Parker, Lyn, “The Quality of Schooling in A Balinese Village,” Indonesia 54, 1992, p. 95-116.

----, “Engendering School Children in Bali,” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 3, no. 3, 1997, p. 497-516.

---- (ed.), The Agency of Women in Asia, London: Marshall Cavendish Academic, 2005.

----, “Religious Tolerance and Inter-faith Education in Indonesia,” Paper presented at the Crises and Opportunities: Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, Adelaide, 2010.

---- and Raihani, Policy briefs: Governing Madrasah, Canberra: Australia Indonesia Governance Research Partnership (AIGRP)-The Australian National University, 2009.

Plunkett, Margaret, “Re-conceptualizing Ability Grouping within A Social Justice Framework: A Student Perspective,” The Australasian Journal of Gifted Education 18, no. 2, 2009, p. 5-16.

Power, S, and Sharon Gewirtz, “Reading Education Action Zones,” Journal of Education Policy 16, no. 1, 2001, p. 39-51.

Raihani, “Education Reforms in Indonesia in The Twenty-first Century,” International Education Journal 8, no. 1, 2007, p. 172-83.

----, “Religion Classes in Indonesia: Translating Policy into Practice,” in Michael Barr, Gerry Groot, Purnendra Jain, Peter Mayer and Elizabeth Morrell (eds.), Crises and Opportunities: Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, Adelaide: Canberra: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Inc and the University of Adelaide, 2010.

----, Best Practices of SBM: Community Participation in School in Indonesia, in Zulfa Sakhiyya, I Made Andi Arsana and Mikha Ramadewi (eds.), Education Counts, Yogyakarta: Yogyakarta Insight Media, 2011.

----, “A Whole-school Approach: A Proposal for Education for Tolerance in Indonesia,” Theory and Research in Education 9, no. 1, 2011, p. 23-39.

Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Rondinelli, D. A., J. R. Nelson, and G. S. Cheema, “Decentralization in Developing Countries: A Review of Recent Experience,” Staff Working Paper No. 581, Washington DC: World Bank, 1984.

Sergiovanni, Thomas. J., Handbook for Effective Department Leadership: Concepts and Practices in Today’s Secondary Schools, 2nd ed., Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1997.

Steenbrink, Karel. A., Pesantren, Madrasah, Sekolah, Jakarta: LP3ES, 1994.

Stones, Rob, Structuration Theory, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Vallance, Elizabeth, “Hiding The Hidden Curriculum: An Interpretation of The Language of Justification in Nineteenth-Century Education Reform,” in Henry Giroux and David Purpel (eds.),The Hidden Curriculum and Moral Education: Deception or Discovery?, California: MrCutrhan Publishing Corporation, 1983.

Willis, Paul E., Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs, New York: Columbia University Press, 1977.

Wong, Jocelyn Lai-ngok, “The Effects of Local Intrepretation of Decentralization Policy on School Autonomy in Guangdong Province of China,” in Christopher Bjork (ed.), Educational Decentralization: Asian Experiences and Conceptual Contributions, Dordrecht: Springer, 2006.

Zajda, Joseph, Suzanne Majhanovich, and Val Rust, “The Epistemology of Social Justice,” in Joseph Zajda, Suzanne Majhanovich and Val Rust (eds.), Education and Social Justice: Issues of Liberty and Equality in The Global Culture, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2006.

Copyright (c) 2012 Raihani Raihani

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.