Each year, Kartini Day reminds us of the struggle borne by RA Kartini, as she fought to achieve equality between men and women in Indonesia. In modern day times, we can now find men who support the role of women in various fields, including in education and leadership.
In the west of Sumbawa Island, a school principal, Mukhsen, S.Pd, shared his experiences supporting the involvement of women in his school, SDN 4 Taliwang. He is one of the ‘modern Kartini’ supporters. Mukhsen is also actively in the INOVASI program, working to improve the quality of Indonesian basic education, especially in the fields of literacy and numeracy. NTB is INOVASI’s first partner province, with six partner districts: Central Lombok, North Lombok, Sumbawa, West Sumbawa, Dompu, and Bima.
Mukhsen is active in INOVASI’s West Sumbawa pilot program in West Sumbawa (PELITA), which seeks to improve foundational literacy in the early grades. He is involved as a local facilitator. Through training workshops so far, he is involved in working to improve the capacity of teachers, principals, and supervisors in developing the literacy learning process in schools.
Involvement in Education
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Muksen had many aspirations to contribute to the advancement of Indonesian education. Starting from his experience in elementary school, Mukhsen admitted that he was often entrusted to be a ‘writer on the board’ both in the process of learning in the classroom, as well as during teacher meetings. From there, he knew he wanted to become a teacher.
After he graduated, he became a qualified teacher. Becoming a teacher was considered a noble profession because teachers work to educate the nation’s upcoming generation. Mukhsen is always reminded of the thoughts from West Sumbawa’s First Regent:
“Let the gold run out in the mountains, we move the gold to the brain of West Sumbawa’s next generation, so that in the future this generation becomes the golden generation”.
His consistency and enthusiasm as a teacher led Mukhsen to become school principal in 2011. He has led various schools over nearly eight years; including SDN Kejawat Brang Rea, SDN Tamekan Taliwang, SDN 1 Taliwang, and then transferred to SDN 4 Taliwang in August 2017, where he remains to this day.
The role of a principal is described by Mukhsen as being an educator, manager or programmer, as well as being able to optimize resources, administrators, supervisors, leaders, and motivate students.
“Modern Kartini” in school
In commemoration of 2018 Kartini Day, Mukhsen shared his views and experiences regarding the importance of applying gender equality in schools, especially by providing opportunities for women as “Modern Kartini”.
“Many educators at SDN 4 Taliwang are women, I give women a great chance to take part on many occasions. For example, make them as the leader of the ceremony and give them opportunity to express their opinions during discussions and meetings,” he said.
Mukhsen often invites female teachers to important discussions. His role as the highest decision-maker in the school makes him aware of the importance in hearing from both male and female teachers.
“In the past few months we have succeeded to become the first winner of the OSN race at the sub-district level thanks to the modern Kartini. In the future, I will give more confidence to the female teachers especially in this literacy era. Our children are mostly guided by the female teachers in literacy learning,” said Mukhsen.
Hopes for female teachers
Mukhsen believes that female teachers are not only teachers, but also ‘mothers’ of students at school, who know best and can combine educating and teaching. Mukhsen hopes that this strong opportunity can continue to grow. He also encourages ‘mother teachers’ to diligently take advantage of training opportunities.
“Even if the training is in the province or even at the national level, I still support it so they can participate,” explained Mukhsen.
Not only that, Mukhsen said that he hoped female teachers can utilize the local learning forums that he had established, so that they can continue to grow and share their experiences and learn from each other as teachers.
“The woman is the pillar of the country, if the woman is good then the country will be good, and if the woman is damaged then the country will be damaged too,” said Mukhsen.