Toward Humanistic Education in Indonesia

Formulating a Wiser Graduation

and Evaluation Standards

in Indonesia National Education System

Reza A.A Wattimena

Assessment standards for graduation in the field of education is still needed. But, we have to look closely to the the standard criteria for the assessment and graduation in education.

An ideal graduation standards based on quantitative and qualitative assessment. It involves a quantitative assessment of numerical data about learners’ achievements, such as test scores, attendance, number of activities within the organization. While the qualitative assessment involves a narrative description that describes their deepest wishes, such as their motivation to follow education, and what their deepest hopes for the schools, or for educational institutions in general

Bureaucratic Problems

The debates on the National Exam (Ujian Nasional) can also be seen in terms of quantitative-qualitative thinking as I mention above. A learner must not be declared failed, simply because academic achievement (quantitatively) bad. There are so many other variables that must be noted, and these variables are usually narrative-qualitative which requires hard work to understand it.


The biggest educational problems in Indonesia rests on the laziness of educational bureaucrats to understand the qualitative variables. For them, what matters is the number of learners who were spread throughout Indonesia. The student are pale numbers with no personality, even though in reality, the students are human beings who have a historical background, personality, and expectations in life.
The inability of the education bureaucrats to understand this will lead to the destruction of the personality and the expectations of learners, because they feel reified. As long as the educational bureaucrats still operates with this paradigm, we can never solve the problems of education in Indonesia.

One Dimensional Intellectual

Graduation and assessment standards which only see students from academic grades alone will generate one dimensional intellectual. This kind of intellectual can not appreciate the other values in human life. They can only understand the value that can be measured mathematically. So often the money becomes the main objective. The pattern of education who solely served the business interest is a result of this way of thinking.

The Frankfurt School thinkers, Herbert Marcuse, has written a book entitled One Dimensional Man. In it, he wanted to reveal the crisis of modern society that are caused by one dimensional man that based their life only to consume goods endlessly. They can not appreciate the values of life, such as solidarity, love, and sacrifice.


All Indonesian citizens will be one dimensional man in the future, if the educational process still based its assessment and standards only on quantitative standards, as it happens right now. One dimensional man solely orient their life to consume endlessly. They no longer have a critical consciousness.

Human education

Discourse about the humanizing of education, which not only oriented to technical jobs in order to produce economic value maximization, can only become reality, if the standard assessment of learners’ also reflect his or her humanity. This means that the assessment standards do not reduce the learners into the numbers and numerical data, but also capable of capturing the complexity of the human soul that has a history, personality, and expectations.


This is true not only at the level of the National Exam, but also for the assessment of standards in education as a whole. Learners are not material product output from the school or other educational institutions. This kind of vocabulary reflects the entrenched educational paradigms behind it.The students are human beings who have dignity and persona. The assessment criteria must also reflect the dignity and complexity of these personas.
Reconstruction in Indonesia’s education can not start with a reactive policy (Koesoma, 2009), such as by extending schools just to meet the practical jobs with cheap salary, but with a change of mind in looking at what and who is human in the truest sense. Educational policy based on the concept of humanistic assessment and evaluation will lead Indonesian citizens to become more competitive, and, most importantly, dignified. ***

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Reza A.A Wattimena

Dosen Hubungan Internasional, Universitas Presiden, Cikarang. Peneliti di President Center for International Studies (PRECIS). Pendiri Program Pengembangan Diri dan Pengembangan Organisasi "Sudut Pandang". Penceramah, Peneliti dan Penulis di bidang Filsafat Politik, Pengembangan Diri dan Organisasi, Metode Berpikir Ilmiah dan Kebijaksanaan Timur. Doktor Filsafat dari Hochschule für Philosophie München, Philosophische Fakultät SJ München, Jerman. Beberapa karyanya: Menjadi Pemimpin Sejati (2012), Filsafat Anti Korupsi (2012), Tentang Manusia (2016), Filsafat dan Sains (2008), Kebijaksanaan Timur dan Jalan Pembebasan (akan terbit- 2016), Melampaui Negara Hukum Klasik (2007), Demokrasi: Dasar dan Tantangannya (2016), Bahagia, Kenapa Tidak? (2015), dan berbagai karya lainnya.

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