Javanese School Days

Jan 15th, 2008, in IM Posts, by

Compulsory Javanese speaking in schools.

As an attempt to save the Javanese language from decline and eventual extinction the Education Department of Surabaya in East Java has begun a policy of making the speaking of Javanese on all school grounds in the city compulsory on every Monday and Tuesday, for both teachers and students.

One student, Dani Swastiko at Angelus Custos Catholic junior high school (SMP Katolik Angelus Custos), says he is very much in favour of the policy:

We live on Java, our culture is Javanese, if we don't preserve it then who will?

Wawan, a fourth grader at Kaliasin 1 school, however complains that he can't speak Javanese because his mother is from Medan and his father, who is from Solo, can't speak the language. [1]

Meanwhile Erlangga Dharma, the head of a private school, Sekolah Cita Hati, says it is difficult to accept the new rule, considering that the Education Department has not issued any detailed instructions, and the fact that many students at the school are of Batak origin and therefore don't know Javanese, except for the local Suroboyoan slang form. [2]

Indonesian version of this article - Berbahasa Jawa di Sekolah.


22 Comments on “Javanese School Days”

  1. avatar Lairedion says:
    January 15th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    This will be difficult to enforce as there are a lot of people (among them Javanese) who cannot speak and understand Javanese.

    Does this mean there is no compulsory teaching of Javanese on SD, SMP and SMA in Central and East Java? If this is the case they could start from there.

    My Sundanese wife, who is from Bandung, learned Sundanese based on Priangan dialect at SD (late seventies, begin eighties) and at home of course but she found it regrettable the language wasn’t taught anymore after she attended SMP. However I understood from her nephews and nieces they are now taught Priangan Sundanese on SD and SMP.

  2. avatar ausdag says:
    January 15th, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    It’s a good initiative, but it will take a lot more than a couple of days a week compulsory usage. Ireland has been trying to revive its national language for some time and pretty much brought it back from virtual extinction. One method –

    An increasing number of new schools offer tuition exclusively through the medium of the Irish language. These schools are called Gaelscoileanna [that's pronounced akin to gel/skirl/yana :(ausdag)] (or all-Irish schools). There is a national radio service (Raidio na Gaeltachta) and a new Irish language television service (Telifis na Gaeilge) came on air in October 1996.

    http://www.irelandnow.com/language.html

    There are already a significant number of Javanese radio stations, not much in the way of Javanese TV (East Java’s JTV has broadcasts in a number of dialects including daily news broadcasts in High level Javanese). And schools would ideally follow the Irish model.

  3. avatar raden says:
    January 15th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    RADEN is very much on agreement & very supportive to the school’s move to preserve & nurture our students proficiency in the Javanese language. Else who will ? very good ! Those immigrants decided to live in JAVA should ‘membaur’ with locals, I think this request is make sense. The students with Batak father should agree with me, you can’t do more successful business when u decided to live in Java without proficiency in Javanese isn’t ? it is common sense

  4. avatar Lairedion says:
    January 15th, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    @raden,

    I also totally agree. Anybody who chooses to live in Central or East Java should be able to speak, write and understand Javanese. The problem is that due the dominant usage of Indonesian, people weren’t really encouraged to learn Javanese because it was not required and somewhat neglected (perhaps on purpose). I know that many Javanese prefer to speak Indonesian because it is easier and egalitarian.

    Although the initiative is sympathetic and should be supported I agree with ausdag it will take more than this to make it successful.

    I used to live in Bandung for three years and I learned to speak and understand some Sundanese at that time.

  5. avatar agam says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Javanese language was taught when I did my SD and SMP, back in the 80s in Semarang, Central Java. However, it was a nightmare for all of us, since the materials were intended to perfecting our grammar, Javanese alphabet, etc.

    I agree that Javanese culture, not language, is taught at schools. at least at SD and SMP level. This should include learning the culture, through ‘campursari’ javanese pop music, Didi Kempot as the champion of campursari, Sujiwotejo ‘Pada Suatu Ketika’ all javanese language album which is a progressive by nature, etc.

    in West Java, why dont they introduce Colin Bass/Sabah Habas Mustapha’s albums with the famous Sambasunda/Jugala All Starr music?

    this would be fun and will encourage youngsters to appreciate contemporary local pop culture.

  6. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Friends,

    Javanese language should be made compulsory and Javanese culture be taught in Oz Land because most Ozzies (except pommies) prefer to be associated with Mojopahit than England.

    In Mojopahit, we have Javanese Muslim like Achmad Sudarsono. In England, you get Scottish Muslim like Dawud Farquhar.

  7. avatar spew-it-all says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Javanese language should be made compulsory and Javanese culture be taught in Oz Land because most Ozzies (except pommies) prefer to be associated with Mojopahit than England.

    I hope you are taking the piss Aluang Anak.

    If Javanese language and culture should be taught in school, it is better not compulsory but rather optional. I am afraid that it will trigger cultural resistance from other ethnics. People can remember ‘Javanisation’ during Suharto period–albeit his purpose was far from uplifting Javanese people at large but a projection of sultanate leadership.

  8. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 2:24 am

    Re

    I hope you are taking the piss Aluang Anak.

    If Javanese language and culture should be taught in school, it is better not compulsory but rather optional. I am afraid that it will trigger cultural resistance from other ethnics. People can remember ‘Javanisation’ during Suharto period-albeit his purpose was far from uplifting Javanese people at large but a projection of sultanate leadership.

    Sigh .. if only the rest of Brown men think like the Javanese.

    Mas, Empire building and Diplomacy are best left to the Javanese. For the sake of perdamaian, makmur and kesatuan of the Great Malay Race, Javanese have to take charge. We can’t subscribe to every whimp and demand of minority groups.

    You may ask, “Why Javanese?

    - Look North (Malaysia and Brunei), few decades ago they were proud to belong to the Great Malay Race. Now they destroyed pre-Islamic artifacts and eliminated all traces of their Malay heritage. Wayang Kulit and traditional ornate Malay kris are haram. They think they are Arabs.

    - Look West. The Achehnese are Brown men like us. We are of the same Malayic lineage and shared the same tradition. Now they think they are closer to the Turks and Arabs than the Great Malay Race.

    - Look East. Bugis Muslims and Bugis Christians hacking each other to death.

    - Look at all the Minority groups; The Madurese are known for their aggressive character and menancing behaviour, and ready to kill at the drop of a hat. Batak, Sundanese and Betawi can’t wait to get their hands on each other over minor disagreement.

    The only 2 groups that can co-exist with any of their Brown brothers are the Balinese and Javanese. Javanese has the number, the Balinese do not.

  9. avatar spew-it-all says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Mas, Empire building and Diplomacy are best left to the Javanese. For the sake of perdamaian, makmur and kesatuan of the Great Malay Race, Javanese have to take charge. We can’t subscribe to every whimp and demand of minority groups.

    Maybe after two consecutive Javanese leaders since independence did cause a lot of mess, it was good to see Habibie taking over and gave a chance to other groups.
    You are right that we can’t subscribe to evrey whimp and demand of minority groups. The oppression experienced by minorities during Suharto and Sukarno is best example to support your theory!

  10. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    @ spew-it-all

    Management is a forever evolving subject. The last 2 Javanese were bad is no valid reason to discard competent Javanese candidates. Of course, every Brown brother can have a shot at the top job. However at this uncertainty period of Arab-Islam imperialism, Muslims and Christians conflicts, the only group capable to unite the whole nusantara from dismantling is the Javanese. A Javanese ruler will never erase his ancestral heritage, like what the Melayus had done. We are custodians of the Malayic traditions should one day future generations have grown out of their Islamic nutshell and decide to reminisce their ancestral greats.

  11. avatar Moi says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    The discussion is about whether or not to make Javanese language compulsory in schools in certain regions Java. I wonder why it has shifted to the competence of the Javanese (?). Competency, quality, and merit are all personal quality – not ethnic binding. Also please be considerate with the other provinces outside of Java that have ‘subsidized’ the development of Java since the new order came to power.

    Back to business, I do agree making the Javanese language mandatory in schools in Java. We don’t want to see the the local languages fade away in this very culturally rich Nusantara. For non-javanese educated in those schools where javanese is mandatory, well, just look at it as part of an enriching experience. When in Rome, do as the Romans.

  12. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    @ Moi

    It may be slightly off-topic but sometimes we do need to show our credentials for Javanese language to be compulsory. Let’s say, if Sundanese wanted their language to be compulsory, but do they have what it takes to be Javanese?

    Salam.

  13. avatar Janma says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    what does it take to be javanese….?

  14. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    @ Janma

    It is obvious. Besides ancient greats like Joyoboyo and Gadjah Mada; we also have past heroes like Pak Karno, Gus Dur and Bu Megawati; and present ones like our current president. Even on blog like this one, Javanese posters are highly intelligent than most Bules.

  15. avatar Nawainruk Icus says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 4:19 am

    I’m Javanese,
    I live along with ‘em
    I was brought up within Javanese culture
    I love Javanese
    but I DIDN’T AGREE with the compulsory.

    things to be noticed, although those students live in Java, it is not a justification for the authority to force ‘em talking with s’thing that’s may be away from their daily living.
    We have Chinese, Madurese, and others..respect their right too

  16. avatar ausdag says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it being compulsory. Non-Javanese can benefit from learning another language. In Australia, primary school children between the ages of 10 and 15 are forced to learn foreign languages. Why? Becuase it’s good for them. After all, aren’t all Indonesian children forced at some stage to learn English? Couldn’t that be seen a not respecting the rights of those Indonesians who don’t wish to or see any need to learn English?

  17. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Friends, listen to ausdag. Smart Ozzies are as rare as albino turtle these days.

    There you go, Bahasa Jovo should be made compulsory; furthermore, our cultural heritage should be exported to all Islamic countries. It is good for mankind. Imagine Wayang Kulit in Pakistan; Arab women wearing Kebayas; and friendly Javanese dukuns replacing murderous mullahs.

    om mali mali om.

    Salam.

  18. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Aluang Anak Bayang

    Inggih, inggih”¦ And warungs selling pork syo may and babi guling in Mecca and Medina.

  19. avatar Janma says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I thought most kids in Java only learnt to speak indonesian at school, before that they mainly speak javanese. in bali it’s like that too. a long time ago I lived in malang and it was like that. everyone spoke javanese.

  20. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Mbak Janma,

    Another Javanese wisdom to share with my Chinese sister:

    “A leopard will not lose its spots”.

  21. avatar Janma says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Another Javanese wisdom to share with my Chinese sister:

    “A leopard will not lose its spots”.

    ummmm…… they have leopards in Java?

  22. avatar Dwi Fitri Paramita says:
    February 23rd, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I’m a javanesse teacher at elementary school in Jogjakarta. Most students spoke Indonesian. Javanesse was not populer. I was dissapointed, but we couldn’t blame them. cause it was not their fault, but there are many reasons why did they do it.



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