MUHAMMADIYAH.ID, JAKARTA – Professor of History, Faculty of Adab and Humanities of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta Azyumardi Azra doubted benefits of the concept of the Merdeka Belajar (Freedom of Learning) program after almost two years.
According to Azyumardi, the Merdeka Belajar program doesn’t change many essential aspects in education as a more open and simpler curriculum.
“I think that the Merdeka Belajar is only a normative approach, not truly independent education. The freedom of learning is supposed to have few subjects, only the primary ones, and we can find another knowledge by ourselves,” conveyed Azyumardi at a Forum Group Discussion (FGD) on the Education Roadmap of the Ministry of Education and Culture conducted by the Muhammadiyah Council for Primary and Secondary Education on Monday (1/3).
He regretted that the national education system still applies the theory of Tabula rasa so that our pedagogical methods tend to doctrinal and dictating.
The philosophy of John Locke has become a standard implemented in Indonesia’s education.
The theory of Tabula rasa believes humans as a blank sheet which can receive dictating teaching. Azyumardi argued that the system is no longer relevant to this era that information is widely accessible.
“Therefore, the philosophy of education should be altered to be an education perceiving students as perfect human beings, not ignorant creatures so that they are compelled to learn a lot of subjects,” he criticized.
“We need new pedagogy. That teachers have greater understanding than students’ is an outdated thought. Dictating students and restraining them to develop are old pedagogical approaches,” stated Azyumardi.
“The pedagogy should be shifted to be liberating transformative pedagogy so that knowledge, skills, and ability can rapidly be internalized,” he asserted.