Kamis, 06 Oktober 2011


Prof.Dr. Anita Lie, guru besar di Universitas Katolik Widya Mandala, Surabaya, menulis pentingnya mempertahankan Bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar, dan mengucapakannya dengan baik dan benar pula. Saat ini, ketika sekolah benar-benar dibuka seluas-luasnya untuk menggunakan bahasa asing, apalagi banyak istilah asing yang belum diterjemahkan / dipadankan dengan bahasa Indonesia, "kekacauan berbahasa makin terasa di mana-mana".

Terlebih lagi, kalau bisa menggunakan bahasa campur-campur, nampaknya lebih "keren" dan "terpelajar", daripada orang kampung yang tidak tahu apa-apa. Menggunakan bahasa campuran, seakan menjadi "bukti bahwa dirinya adalah manusia moderen" dan bisa menaikkan "gengsi".

Memang benar, ada kelompok-kelonpok masyarakat yang sedang "deman bahasa asing" dan ada pula kelompok-kelompok masyarakat yang "gila bahasa asing" atau "barang asing". Padahal bagi manusia yang diperlukan adalah "orang baik dan bijaksana". Apalagi dalam urusan perjodohan, mestinya, urutan pertama dalam menentukan pasangan hidup adalah "orang baik dan bijaksana", bukan harta dan bahasa-bahasa asing yang dikuasainya.

Pemutusan penggunakan bahasa ibu, sejak masih anak-anak, bisa dianggap sebagai "pemusnahan bahasa" dan pada gilirannya "pemusnahan budaya" mereka. Ternyata bukan soal kecil, hal-hal yang menyangkut bahasa dan budaya. Apa penuturan Prof Lie dalam hal ini. Mari kita simak tuturannya:

Preserve linguistic identities and cultural diversity
Anita Lie, Berkeley, CA | Sat, 10/01/2011 8:00 AM

Indonesians take pride in the unity of the nation through the use of the national language, Bahasa Indonesia. Every October, the pledge is observed and used to remind young and old to value unity amid the vast diversity of the nation. In support of the national language policy, it is often argued that the use of a national language prevents civil strife and conflicts.

Comparisons with other countries where the national language policy is not effective are made and examples of societal fractiousness due to language differences among peoples are given. While I support using our national language to strengthen unity, I wish to challenge the notion that national language imposition can prevent civil strife and further to argue for the preservation of linguistic identities and the integration of local languages in the school system to maintain the cultural diversity of this nation.

In the sociolinguistic community, Indonesia is often applauded for its success in establishing and maintaining the national language policy in relative comparison with several neighboring countries such as India, the Philippines and Singapore (Joshua Fishman and Harold Schiffman, 1999). This outsiders’ perspective of the role of Bahasa Indonesia should currently be tested against contemporary development in different areas of Indonesia.

In bigger cities, the diminishing role of Bahasa Indonesia is apparent among children of wealthy families who opt for international schools where instruction is given in English or other prestigious international languages such as Chinese. There are reports that such children are not able to sing the national anthem “Indonesia Raya” and recall Pancasila. Therefore, there are bigger concerns of our national language being eroded by the use of English among children than of Bahasa Indonesia not being used as a unifying force among various ethnic groups in remote areas.

In remote areas, on the other hand, the role of Bahasa Indonesia as the medium of instruction in schools has remained unchallenged. In the first days of school, children are expected to master the language rapidly. Teachers use Bahasa Indonesia, assuming that every child should be proficient in this language and if they are not, then they are considered “not ready to learn”.

Teachers – who usually come from outside the area – despise the students’ local culture and see it as an impediment to learning and mainstreaming. Throughout the formal education system, students are made to feel ashamed of their own mother tongue and indigenous culture.

School failures among indigenous communities are usually associated with deficiencies and handicaps within the communities themselves. Children, parents and also values in the communities are blamed as reasons for high drop-out rates and other problems in schools.

The high drop-out rates among Amungme and Kamoro children in the district of Mimika, Papua, should be an alarming concern for local as well as national education authorities to look at the issues in a more humane way.

The Indonesian formal education system uses a submersion model based on a sink-or-swim paradigm in which linguistic minority children with a low-status mother tongue are forced to accept instruction through the medium of the national language. This discontinuity between the students’ home culture and the school culture is the beginning of a downward spiral of school problems and later life failures.

This submersion model for indigenous children in remote areas fits the United Nations’ definition of linguistic genocide. When the United Nations did preparatory work for what later became the International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (E 793, 1948), linguistic and cultural genocide were discussed alongside physical genocide and were seen as serious crimes against humanity (see Capotorti, 1979).

Linguistic genocide is defined as “prohibiting the use of the language of the group in daily intercourse or in schools, or the printing and circulation of publications in the language of the group” (Article 3, 1). Prohibition can, of course, be overt and direct (e.g., killing or torture for using the mother tongue, as in Turkey vis-รก-vis Kurds) or covert and indirect, accomplished via ideological and structural means.

If the minority language is not used as the main medium of education and child care, the use of the minority language is indirectly prohibited in daily intercourse or in schools, that is, it is an issue of linguistic genocide. Thus, uprooting Amungme and Kamoro young children from their home communities and placing them in Jakarta to pursue academic achievement in the name of Olympiad-style laureateship certainly can be categorized as linguistic genocide.

It is estimated that throughout the world, one language dies every week. When a language dies, the cultural wisdom that has shaped that language is lost because every language contains the richness and nuances that the previous generations have built up for ages. Preserving linguistic identities and cultural diversity among indigenous communities throughout Indonesia can and should be done within the framework of our national education system.

The pervasive influence of television automatically benefits the spread and maintenance of Bahasa Indonesia throughout the country. Concerns for the potential loss of ethnic languages and for school failures due to discontinuity between the students’ home culture and the school norms are more grounded and should be addressed.

Children of indigenous communities with a low-status mother tongue should be given the chance to be educated during at least their kindergarten and first three years of primary school in their mother tongue as the medium of instruction. Consequently, bilingual teachers are in high demand.

The national government as well as the local education authorities should work harder to prepare teachers who are willing to educate children of indigenous communities and respect their local cultures. Ethnographic training should be an essential part of pre-service as well as in-service professional development programs for teachers. All these efforts will definitely be costly but worthwhile in overcoming school problems among indigenous communities.

The writer, a professor of education at Widya Mandala Catholic University, Surabaya, is currently a visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley on Program Academic Recharging (PAR) grant from the Indonesian Ministry of Education.

Terima kasih,Prof Lie atas pengamatan dan analisa anda.

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