Contributor: Maroof Ahmed | Editor: Dadi Darmadi
On July 28, 2023, the Faculty of Education (FoE) at Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) had the honor of hosting a distinguished guest lecturer, Prof. Dr. H. Raihani, the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the Faculty of Psychology, UIN Sultan Syarif Kasim, Riau Indonesia, for a discussion on Multicultural Education in Indonesia.
Prof. Raihani began by sharing his extensive experience engaging with Multicultural Education (MCE), which started from his postdoctoral fellowship at UWA funded by ARC Discovery Project 2009-2012 ‘Education for Multicultural Indonesia’. He has since produced numerous published works on the subject, contributing significantly to the discourse on multicultural education in Indonesia and beyond.
He defined multiculturalism as "an ideology that recognizes and respects diversity in culture, beliefs, traditions, and political associations" and as an approach to eliminate discrimination in any form due to different races, ethnicities, religions, and anything that is usually "given."
Prof. Raihani then contextualized multiculturalism within the Indonesian landscape. He highlighted the country's rich cultural and religious diversity, with six officially recognized organized religions and hundreds of traditional belief systems. However, he also noted the potential for conflict that this diversity can bring, citing instances of religious and ethnic clashes in the past.
The core of the lecture was dedicated to Multicultural Education (MCE). Prof. Raihani described MCE as "an inclusive concept used to describe a wide variety of school practices, programs, and materials designed to help children from diverse groups to experience educational quality."
He also discussed the policies of MCE in Indonesia, which are grounded in the 1945 Constitution and other national education acts. These policies aim to develop the potential of students to strengthen their belief in and fear of God, respect the diversity of religion, culture, ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic groups, and become democratic and responsible citizens.
Prof. Raihani emphasized the need for a whole-school system approach to implement Multicultural Education, as it is related to beliefs, values, and attitudes. He recommended examining the possibility of developing religious multiculturalism, where being religious and being a multiculturalist are not placed as opposites of each other.
The lecture by Prof. Raihani provided a comprehensive overview of Multicultural Education in Indonesia, its current practices, and future directions. It offered valuable insights and recommendations for educators, policy-makers, and students alike, contributing to the ongoing discourse on multiculturalism and education in Indonesia.