On Ki Hadjar Dewantara’s Philosophy of Education





Indonesia, Ki hadjar Dewantara, Philosophy of Education


This comparative education article explores the purpose of education in the Indonesian context. My aim is to see if there are any differences between the purpose of education during the colonial era and present-day Indonesia. In order to do that, I draw mostly on the philosophy of Ki Hadjar Dewantara, who is regarded as the father of Indonesian education. This article is particularly relevant because the Indonesian government has recently started to critically re-examine two of the educational concepts proposed by Dewantara, which are "pendidikan karakter" (character education) and "merdeka belajar" (independent learning). In conceptualising education, Dewantara, who was influenced by Tagore, Montessori, and Fröbel, saw the importance of imparting local wisdom and values ignored by the colonial schools. Therefore, in this article, I will compare his educational views with the Dutch view of schooling during the colonial era. I will then look at Indonesia's current approach to education to find the similarities and differences of purpose relative to Dewantara's views of education. In this article, I argue that Dewantara's philosophy is still very much relevant today. I conclude that the Indonesian government should refer back to its history when defining education for its next generation.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Afzal, M. (2011). Micro econometric analysis of private returns to education and determinants of earnings. Pakistan Economic and Social Review, 49(1), 39–68.

Aggarwal, J. C. (2010). Theory and principles of education. Vikas Publishing House.

Bass, R. V., & Good, J. W. (2004). Educare and educere: Is a balance possible in the educational system? The Educational Forum, 68(Winter), 161–168. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ724880.pdf

Brand, J. (2010). Civic returns to higher education: A note on heterogeneous effects. Social Forces, 89(2), 417–433. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.2010.0095

Burbules, N. C., & Warnick, B. R. (2006). Philosophical inquiry. In G. Camilli, P. Elmore, & J. Green (Eds.), Complementary Methods for Research in Education (3rd ed., pp. 489–502). American Educational Research Association.

Burnett, A. (1962). Montessori education today and yesterday. The Elementary School Journal, 63(2), 71–77.

Craft, M. (1984). Education for diversity. In M. Craft (Ed.), Education and Cultural Pluralism (pp. 5–26). Falmer Press.

Danner, H. (1994). Bildung: A basic term of German education. Educational Sciences, 9. https://www.helmut-danner.info/pdfs/German_term_Bildung.pdf

Dee, T. (2006). Are there civic returns to education? Journal of Public Economics, 88(9–10), 1697–1720.

Dewantara, K. H. (1962a). Dr. Maria Montessori penganjur pendidikan merdeka. In Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa (Ed.), Karja Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Bagian Pertama: Pendidikan (pp. 265–273). Taman Siswa.

Dewantara, K. H. (1962b). Hubungan kita dengan Dr. Tagore. In Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa (Ed.), Karja Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Bagian Pertama: Pendidikan (pp. 131–134). Taman Siswa.

Dewantara, K. H. (1962c). Methode Montessori, Fröbel dan taman anak. In Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa (Ed.), Karja Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Bagian Pertama: Pendidikan (pp. 241–242). Taman Siswa.

Dewantara, K. H. (1962d). Sifat dan maksud pendidikan. In Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa (Ed.), Karja Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Bagian Pertama: Pendidikan (pp. 89–94). Taman Siswa.

Dewantara, K. H. (1962e). Tentang Fröbel dan methodenya. In Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa (Ed.), Karja Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Bagian Pertama: Pendidikan (pp. 249–255). Taman Siswa.

Dewantara, K. H. (1964). Asas-asas dan dasar-dasar Taman Siswa. Madjelis Luhur Taman Siswa.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. MacMillan.

Dhofier, Z. (1999). The pesantren tradition: The role of the kyai in the maintenance of traditional Islam in Java. Arizona State University Center for Asian Research.

Diniyah, F. (2017). Persepsi orangtua dan guru mengenai Bahasa Inggris pada anak usia dini di TK ABA Karangmalang Yogyakarta. Jurnal Tarbiyah (Jurnal Ilmu Kependidikan), 6(2), 29–39. https://doi.org/10.18592/tarbiyah.v6i2.1594

Doan, T., & Stevens, P. (2011). Labour market returns to higher education in Vietnam. Economics-the Open Access Open Assessment Journal, 5, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2011-12

Fröbel, F. (1887). The education of man (W. N. Hailmann (ed.)). D.Appleton.

Fröbel, F. (1967). Frederich Fröbel: A selection from his writings. Cambridge University Press.

Furnivall, J. S. (1944). Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy. Cambridge University Press.

Gidley, J. (2016). Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures. Springer.

Glewwe, P., Gragnolati, M., & Zaman, H. (2002). Who gained from Vietnam’s boom in the 1990s? Economic Development and Cultural Change, 50(4), 773–792.

Gupta, A. Das. (2002). Rabindranath Tagore in Indonesia: An experiment in bridge-building. Bijdragen Tot de Taal-, Land- En Volkenkunde, 158(3), 451–477.

Kelch, K. (2014). Becoming history. Taman Siswa and its influence on the Indonesian national education.. https://hdl.handle.net/1887/29534 In Master Thesis: Research Master Area Studies: Asia and the Middle East.

Koosgard, C. M. (1983). Two distinctions in goodness. The Philosophical Review, 92(2), 169–195.

Marzuki, & Khanifah, S. (2016). Pendidikan ideal perspektif Tagore dan Ki Hajar Dewantara dalam pembentukan karakter peserta didik. Jurnal Civics: Media Kajian Kewarganegaraan, 13(2), 172–181. https://doi.org/10.21831/civics.v13i2.12740

Masschelein, J., & Ricken, N. (2003). Do we (still) need the concept of bildung? Educational Philosophy and Theory, 35(2), 139–154.

McCowan, T. (2012). Is there a universal right to education? British Journal of Educational Studies, 60(2), P111.128. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2011.648605

McMahon, W. (2007). An analysis of education externalities with applications to development in the deep south. Contemporary Economic Policy, 25(3), 459–482. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00041.x

McMahon, W. (2009). The private and social benefits of higher education; Higher learning greater good. The John Hopkins University Press.

McVey, R. (1967). Taman Siswa and the Indonesian national awakening. Indonesia, 4, 128–149.

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2020a). Keemndikbud Dorong “Link and Match” Pendidikan Vokasi dengan DUDI. https://www.vokasi.kemdikbud.go.id/read/kemendikbud-dorong-link-and-match-pendidikan-vokasi-dengan-dudi

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2020b). Merdeka belajar untuk semangat dan inspirasi peningkatan pendidikan. https://www.kemdikbud.go.id/main/blog/2020/08/merdeka-belajar-untuk-semangat-dan-inspirasi-peningkatan-pendidikan

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2021). Program organisasi penggerak. https://p3gtk.kemdikbud.go.id/laman/program-organisasi-penggerak

Montessori, M. (1948). The discovery of the child. Kalakshetra Publications.

Montessori, M. (1949). The absorbent mind. The Theosophical Publishing House.

Muthoifin. (2015). Pemikiran pendidikan multikultural Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Intizar, 21(2), 299–317. http://jurnal.radenfatah.ac.id/index.php/intizar/article/view/314

Nussbaum, M. (1997). Cultivating humanity. Harvard University Press.

Prihatni, Y. (2014). Pendekatan saintifik dalam ajaran Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Prosiding Seminar Nasional Pendidikan Sains. http://journal.ustjogja.ac.id/download/prosiding seminar nasional pendidikan sains.pdf

Psacharopoulos, G. (1972). The marginal contribution of education to economic growth. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 20(4), 641–658.

Psacharopoulos, G. (1973). Returns to Education: An International Comparison. Elsevier, Jossey-Bass.

Psacharopoulos, G. (1981). Returns to investment in education: A global update. World Development, 22(9), 1325–1343.

Psacharopoulos, G. (1985). Returns to education: A further international update and implication. The Journal of Human Resources, 20(4), 583–604.

Putra, P. (2007). Implementasi pendidikan karakter dalam pembelajaran IPA di MIN Pemangkat Kabupaten Sambas Kalimantan Barat. Jurnal Ilmiah PGMI, 3(1), 49–61. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/267946495.pdf

Radcliffe, D. (1971). Ki Hadjar Dewantara and the Taman Siswa Schools; Notes on an Extra-Colonial Theory of Education. Comparative Education Review, 15(2), 219–226.

Rahardjo, S. (2013). Ki Hajar Dewantara biografi singkat 1889-1959. Garasi House of Book.

Rokhman, F., Ahmadi, F., & Kusumaningtyas, R. D. (2017). Konsep ideal Labschool. Pilar Nusantara.

Saefuddin, A., & Solahudin, M. (2009). Menuju manusia merdeka: Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Leutika.

Schady, N. R. (2003). Convexity and sheepskin effects in the human capital earnings function: Recent evidence for Filipino men. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 65(2), 171–196. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0084.00042

Scherer, S. (1975). Harmony and dissonance: Early nationalist thought in Java. Cornell University.

Serry, A. (2012). Froebel‘s pielpaedagogik and the playfulness of postmodernısm (Occational Paper No. 2).

Shihab, N., & Komunitas Guru Belajar. (2017). Merdeka belajar di ruang kelas. Literati.

Steenbrink, K. A. (1986). Pesantren, madrasah, sekolah: Pendidikan Islam dalam kurun modern. Lembaga Penelitian, Pendidikan dan Penerangan Ekonomi dan Sosial.

Strauch-Nelson, W. (2012). Reuniting art and nature in the life of a child. Art Education, 65(3), 33–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/00043125.2012.11519174

Supardi, Kuntoro, S. A., & Dwiningrum, S. I. A. (2018). Ki Hadjar Dewantara and Rabindranath Tagore’s thought about education. Journal of Social Studies, 14(1), 48–62. https://doi.org/10.21831/jss.v14i1.21653

Tagore, R. (1929). Ideals of Education. The Visva-Bharati Quarterly, April-July, 73–74.

Tagore, R. (1992). Ashramer siksha. In Rabindra Rachanabali, Volume 14. Government of West Bengal.

Tagore, R. (2003). Tagore, education, cosmopolitanism. In . F. Alatas, L. T. Ghee, & K. Kuroda (Eds.), Asian Interfaith Dialogue (pp. 78–92). The World Bank.

Towaf, S. M. (2016). The national heritage of Ki Hadjar Dewantara in Taman Siswa about culture-based education and learning. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(23), 167–176.

Triatmanto. (2010). Tantangan implementasi pendidikan karakter di sekolah. Cakrawala Pendidikan, 29(edisi khusus dies natalis UNY), 187–203. https://doi.org/10.21831/cp.v1i3.245

Tsuchiya, K. (1987). Democracy and leadership. The rise of the Taman Siswa movement in Indonesia. University of Hawaii Press (Monographs of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, 18).

Varkøy. (2010). The concept of “Bildung.” Philosophy of Music Education Review, 18(1), 85. https://doi.org/10.2979/pme.2010.18.1.85

Wahyu. (2011). Masalah dan usaha membangun karakter bangsa. Jurnal Komunitas Universitas Negri Semarang, 3(2), 138–149. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307660593_MASALAH_DAN_USAHA_MEMBANGUN_KARAKTER_BANGSA

Walker, M. (2018). Aspirations and equality in higher education: Gender in a South African university. Cambridge Journal of Education, 48(1), 123–139. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2016.1254159

Wijayanti, D. (2018). Character education designed by Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Eduhumaniora: Jurnal Pendidikan Dasar, 10(2), 85–91. https://doi.org/10.17509/eh.v10i2.10865

Yanuar, Y. (2019). 3 Alasan Jokowi pilih Nadiem Makarim sebagai Mendikbud. Tempo. https://tekno.tempo.co/read/1264074/3-alasan-jokowi-pilih-nadiem-makarim-sebagai-mendikbud/full&view=ok

Yusuf, T. (1969). In commemoration of the late Ki Hadjar Dewantara. The founder of the national educational institution: Taman Siswa and the cornerstone layer of the Indonesian National Education. on his 80th birth anniversary May, 2 1889-1969. The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the Philippines.




How to Cite

Ferary, D. (2021). On Ki Hadjar Dewantara’s Philosophy of Education. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 5(2), 65–78. https://doi.org/10.7577/njcie.4156