February 1, 2010

The art of batik to be taught in schools

Newspaper article in The Jakarta Post

Slamet Susanto , The Jakarta Post , Yogyakarta | Fri, 01/29/2010 11:04 AM | The Archipelago
Photo I made during my stay in Indonesia

Batik reaches new heights in Bantul regency, Yogyakarta, with the administration planning to include batik as a school subject for elementary to senior high school students as of the next school year. The regency also plans to require students and teachers to wear batik uniform three times a week, from Thursday to Saturday.

“We hope all schools can implement the new school subject properly to ensure that all students understand batik from an early age,” Bantul Regent Idham Samawi said.

He said he has issued a regulation requiring schools to include batik as a local school subject as part of its teaching model, which is based on local wisdom and culture. Head of Bantul regency basic education office, Sahari, said the inclusion of batik as a school subject is intended to ensure of batik’s survival as a component of local culture. He said his office would also work together with the Indonesian Art Institute to determine the standard of curriculum for batik as school subject.

“We’re currently working with universities on details to set the standard for the curriculum,” he said.
He said batik would likely be ready to be included as a school subject in the upcoming new school year.

Apart from batik, several schools have taken the lead in including local content in the school subjects. Sriharjo elementary school in Imogiri, Bantul has taught karawitan and gamelan traditional music orchestra as well as batik-making to its students.

“Currently, we just start introducing karawitan and batik-making for first graders. Soon, the subjects will be given to all students,” said teacher Budi Haryoto.

He said the school cooperates with local group near the school for the subjects, including in providing gamelan orchestra and teachers. “Learning about karawitan and gamelan is good to shape children’s characters,” said Ngadiran, the ka-rawitan and gamelan music teacher.

He said the key to teaching the subjects was patience. “Children are impatient so we have to be patient.”

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