Concept of Value in Education

In my opinion value is a special message embedded in education. It may consciously or unconsciously transferred to students. It reflects the condition of the society, of what regarded important by the society, or maybe even what is regarded important by the educator.

For example, in 1929 an Indonesian educator established an education system which called ‘freedom system’ (Takwin, 2010). The value brought by that system is independence; the ability to be obedient but autonomous. It reflects  high level of nationalism because at that time, Indonesia was trying to get its independence.

A couple of decades later, the system was substituted by more moderate curriculum, which stresses on conformity. Governed by authoritarian leader, schools promote uniformity. Differences were seen as something inappropriate and those who show different opinion or idea may be punished.

After Indonesian reformation in 1998 the value internalized in education changed again. People have started to put emphasis on individual development and embrace diversity. The government, until now, is still trying to increase economic resource. Education is seen as a mean to produce qualified people who can work to increase economical power. According to Indonesian vice president, Boediono (2012), education is a strategic sector because it will prepare future workers in getting their skills in science and technology. It is also used to support country’s development through social, economical, and political construction.

The examples above are the example of how value of education changes across time according to the leader, circumstances, or external forces. However value transfer is not limited to the big ones. In small scale, a teacher may transfer his personal value to the students.

There are lots of needs and agenda that people want to insert into education. It seems for me, that adults or whoever got the power can promote one or certain value to children through education. But what about what children want? What about the value of children itself? If education is used to internalized values to children, then for whom the education actually is? Is it for children and students? Is it for those who got the power? What if children are given so many values that they are actually confused? Isn’t education then going to create those confused, valueless apathy people?

Dec 06, 2012

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