Studying and sending kids to school (2)

Expecting an International Education with a Minimal Cost

“This is my body. I have the right to wear what I want,” Nazla said. Radies Purbo, a Father, can only look at his little daughter at the class of 2D. It turned out that it was not easy to convince his daughter to wear the hijab. Radies gasped. Suddenly he realized that differences in Islamic and Western values were not easily communicated, especially to the children.

By: Achmad Supardi

Nazla’s action to not wearing the hijab is the proof of how strong the socialization of Western values that rests on individual freedom. For Radies and his wife who want to implement Islamic values, this is not easy.

‘’Ín school, she is taught that her body is her right. She determines what will happen to her body, including in terms of clothing selection. While we as Muslims have another value. It takes more effort and time to provide understanding to children,’’ said the winner of the Australia Awards scholarship.

With these hard challenges, why do Radies, with the other Indonesian university students, bring their children to school?

‘’I want my kids to receive the same experience that I receive. I want them to feel the journey that I’m having as well,’’ Radies said.

Things like this is also something Rustanto faced, a university student taking his PhD in Queensland University of Technology. He wants his kids to be able to adapt in life that are completely new and to have the ability to cope with stress.

“We are both calm. I am calm, my wife and children are calm if we are together, “he said.

Luckily, to have an international quality education in Australia is very minimal.  If you study in a national school, such as elementary school (SD) or high school (SMP and SMA), you don’t have to pay. Parents only need to spend money on outside school activities, which is not a routine.

The same thing was conveyed tp Agus who accompanied his wife studying in Adelaide and Brisbane , a few years ago. Now he himself is studying in Brisbane. The main reason he and his wife bring their children is to get the opportunity to study at international quality schools with minimal fees. The qualities that Agus meant included facilities and quality of teaching.

These intention was also a reason why Renata Sadjad and her husband brought their daughter, Aqila to Australia before she was 5 years old, who was in the golden age. Aqila is admitted to Campus Kindergarten (equivalent to TKA in Indonesia).

“In accordance with the National Framework for Early Childhood Education in Australia, Aqila learns to be belonging, being, and becoming,” said Renata, Sunday (17 /).

At school, the potential of Aqila is really being developed. Renagta can discuss with the teacher at any time about aspects of her development that concern them; both social skills, communication, and others.

Even though the quality of education is good, going to school in a new place does not mean that it is without obstacles. One of them was experienced by Rustanto’s daughter, Hilya Idhar Mumtaz. At the beginning of the 5th grade Ironside State School he seems to always looking depressed. It seems like he is experiencing the fear of facing a new environment.

“I strengthen his resolve every day. I say if he is able to overcome this, he will successfully overcome different obstacles in other places later in life, “Rustanto said. He is grateful that the school is very cooperative. They can ‘’smell’’ the worries experienced by Hilya and help him overcome them. The school finds Indonesian friends for Hilya. “I saw my child’s face immediately sparkle when introduced to fellow Indonesian friends,” said the civil servant at the Director General of State Assets, Ministry of Finance.

The school also did not force Hilya to immediately step on the gas to understand the lesson at that time. School priority is to make Hilya feel comfortable at school first. Social, psychological and academic development was informed to Rustanto and his wife through meetings of each term.

Clash of Values

Challenges is not only to the new surroundings, but to also different values. The different values of islam also the traditional Indonesian values and the western values that dominates Australia gives some work for parents to think about. For example, children will get information by teachers from school saying ‘’we don’t need to be married to have a baby.’’  However, in Islam and in the Indonesian Norms, to be married is an essential gateway for husband and wife that want to have children.

“Well, this is certainly a series of information about sex, marriage, household. The challenge is how to convey these things to children in a frame of Islamic values that is different from what they hear in school, “said Radies, who is currently studying S3 at Griffith University.

Another challenge is the waning of Indonesian manners and politeness. Radies, for example, was educated in a family where arguing to parents was never thought of. Now, his children have the freedom to debate their opinions. “At the moment we cannot be authoritarian. We must explain rationally, “he said.

Radies strategy is to answer all the questions until the children understand. Until there is no question why again. However, there are also things where he does not open the door to bargaining. “For example, about prayer (Salat) and Quran reading. I give them the prayer schedule and they have to follow,” says Radies.

After every Maghrib salah, they read and try to memorise the Qur’an. “Sometimes I give religious material. Usually on weekends I give taujih (religious lectures), “Radies said.

Like some other Muslim students, Radies also included her children in the Indonesian Islamic Society of Brisbane (IPAB) Al Qur’an Education Park (TPA). However, the duration of the recitation which is only once a week is not enough. “Therefore, we try to recite every day. Before memorizing and prayer the children are not allowed hold the Ipad or dinner, “says Radies.

The same obstacle is also faced by Rivan. When he was in Indonesia, his son attended an Integrated Islamic Primary School who taught a high Islamic morality and memorized the Qur’an. In school there are Islamic studies every Friday, but Rivan still feels that it is lacking.

‘’The solution is to memorize at home, even though its not as intensive as it is back in Indonesia,’’ he said. The reluctance of the child to memorize the Quran is indeed an obstacle faced by Muslim parents.

Agus’s two children had attended Ironside State School. His first child, Fajrul school from grade 5 to grade 9, while his second child, Ghinan, attended grade 2 to grade 6. His third child, Zada, studied at UQ Playschool, Ironside and also experienced Grade 1 in Ironside States School.

Meanwhile, Rustanto faces another type of problem. His two children wear the Hijabs, such as Hilya and her sister, Hajar Iffantul Karimah. At one time, the children’s hijab was pulled by their friends. It was not an act of bullying, but but it was purely the curiosity of the children. The proof is that that whilst they were pulling the veil of his daughter, they also ask whether Hajar and Hilya still wore the Hijab while bathing. (continued )

 * The author is a lecturer at the Communication Science Study Program, Universitas Presiden, Cikarang, currently a PhD student at The University of Queensland with a scholarship from LPDP.

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