I conducted internship in the Ministry of Education and Culture Office in Jakarta, Indonesia from August 26th to October 3rd, 2014. I was attached to the Research Center for Educational Policy and my supervisor was Dr. Lucia Winingsih who is a senior researcher in the Research Network Division. The office has many research fields including Education Economics, Education Finance and Education Culture. I was informed that this was the first time this office had accepted an international intern, so it was a very proud moment for me. My objectives for this internship opportunity were to collect primary data necessary for my academic research and to create networks with Indonesian education institutions and education experts.
My expectation before the internship was to work in collaboration with some ministry of education officers to plan for some educational field research projects. However this was not possible because various field research projects conducted by Ministry officers had already been finalized before I reached Indonesia. As a result the officers in the Research Center for Educational Policy allowed me to focus mainly on my academic research. I received very valuable advice regarding my research from my supervisor and Dr. Bambang Indriyanto, who is the head of the research center.
My research interest is in the relationship between religion and education, and I focused on West Java area whose population is 88% Muslims. I observed religious classes and used questionnaires to interview teachers and students. The questionnaire was structured a long two ideas namely; “A feeling of inferiority” and “a sense of the belonging to their religions”. The 28 primary school students and 31 junior high school students interviewed are non-Muslims sampled from public schools. Dr. Sumar Hendayana who is a professor in Education University of Indonesia gave me information about public schools, and the college students also supported me on language, because all the schools use Indonesian to teach.
While carrying out class observation, university students helped me translate from Indonesian to English and vice versa. I visited a total of ten schools, comprised of four secondary schools and six primary schools. The schools were drawn from four cities as follows; two from Sumedang city (1 primary and 1 secondary), one primary school from Lembang city, One secondary school from Cimahi city, and six schools from Bandung city (4 primary and 2 secondary).
I was able to create networks with several professors, officers and students from the following educational institutions; Ministry of Education and Culture, Education University of Indonesia and JICA. All the people I networked with during the internship were very instrumental in giving me guidance and advice related to my research and internship in general.
I encountered two challenges while conducting my internship and research. First, I realized my research proposal and my attitude towards internship were poor. I should have prepared for the questionnaire survey in detail and should have reviewed more literature on Islamic culture and schools in Indonesia. The second challenge relates to language of communication. All the public schools in Indonesia and people use Indonesian, so it was difficult to communicate with teachers and students in English. Also most of the educational data is in only Indonesian language, so I needed native translator.
Despite the above mentioned challenges, I learned a lot from the internship, especially school visits and office environment. I experienced Indonesian culture with native friends, because I stayed in my friend’s house. Through this experience, I got a strong feeling and attachment to Indonesian people and country. I’m determined to make my research to be useful for Indonesian.
Finally I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Prof. Keiichi Ogawa, my academic advisor for giving me this rare and unique internship opportunity. Likewise I wish to say special thanks to my supervisor during the internship Dr. Lucia Winingsih for her kind and warm support towards me during the entire internship period. Moreover, I wish to say thanks to all professors and senior students from Education University of Indonesia for their kind support.