Monday, June 3, 2019

Indonesia's Generation Z and Pancasila

The young generation always reflects the spirit of being fresh, dynamic, and full of ideas. That is why Soekarno emphasized the importance of the contribution of the young to the development of Indonesia. He said in a speech, “Give me 10 youths, and I undoubtedly will shake the world.”

That statement showed how powerfully the young generation affects social change. It also puts expectation on the young generation to take responsibility for Indonesia’s growth in the future. In the current era, Indonesia’s generation Z, born between 1994 and 2010, has to be ready to take that responsibility. 

As the first generation of the digital world, generation Z is intensively attached to getting information through communication technology. They view smart-phones, not only as devices and platforms, but also as a way of life.

Consequently, generation Z likes to and tends to communicate with people  through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Line, Whatsapp, and Instagram. On social media, they feel they have freedom of expression. 

As a result, many parents consider generation Z to be busier with their gadgets than interacting socially. This assumption gives the impression that generation Z is more egocentric, individualistic, impatient, disrespectful of process, and wants everything instantly.


Another assumption is generation Z is considered not to have a wide knowledge of history, including the meaning of Pancasila. Vice head of Pancasila Ideology Development Agency (BPIP) Hariyono said, “The young generation has no memory of Pancasila.”

All these prejudices show that the older generation tends to be doubtful of generation Z's capability of promoting Pancasila values. The emergence of this distrust may be due to Indonesia’s current atmosphere which is hit by the issues of intolerance, corruption, social injustice, poverty, and a weak judicial system.

These problems and assumptions are a legacy which will burden Indonesia's generation Z in the future. The rhetorical question that revolves around older generations mind is, “Quo vadis Pancasila in the generation Z's leadership.

Fortunately, the prejudices mentioned above are, arguably,  too pessimistic. Although generation Z seem inseparable from gadgets, they are, in fact, concerned about and fight to promote Pancasila values, both in the social media and in daily activity. 

A number of surveys have been conducted to find out Indonesia’s generation Z's understanding and preferences regarding Pancasila. One of them was Tirto Id in July 2018. The result was quite surprising. Most of generation Z acknowledged and practiced Pancasila in their daily life. Moreover they did not agree that Pancasila should be replaced.

Therefore, how can we foster Pancasila values among the generation Z? The steps that can be taken are by synergy between generations in institutions, such as in  campus life. Campus has an important role in instilling Pancasila values among generation Z in order to prevent the spread of radicalism in Indonesia.

However, the basic problem of Pancasila study is the method of study in both schools and campuses. As a subject, Pancasila is still studied as one-way learning or passive learning. The New Order inherited this kind model of learning in Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No.12 / 1982 on political education for the young generation. One of the mandates was the implementation of Pancasila upgrading for the young generation.

This traditional method is a characteristic of a military style that is in line with the Suharto government era. This style of learning is teacher-centered and there is less participation of students in the learning process. In other words, there is no interaction between teacher and student, sharing insights, or contributing to a dialogue. 

This kind of traditional method makes Pancasila a boring subject, not only for Indonesian people who have been taught Pancasila since kindergarten but also for Indonesians growing up abroad who, then, return to their homeland. In the campus where I lecture, some of my expatriate students object to memorizing facts for Pancasila. For them, some sila in Pancasila are universal values which can be practiced automatically such as humanity, unity in diversity, democracy, and social justice.   

Besides that, passive learning also limits the potency of Pancasila to be studied philosophically. Especially for those who study at a campus, the cognitive level they need is more than simply the introduction of material. They want to study Pancasila through in depth discussion, which needs cooperative argumentative dialogue. This condition will help them to understand and to analyse current phenomena in Indonesia. 

In fact Studying Pancasila can be fun. Pancasila no longer needs to be formally taught in a rigid way. Because most Indonesian people have known Pancasila since childhood, so this memory can be developed in some methods such as workshop, talk show, or game. These methods are able to create a dialogic communication and to establish cooperation between students and teachers.

Particularly for Indonesia's generation z who have technological savvy, pancasila values need to be presented in creative way. In this case, social media has a big role to attract their attention and to disseminate the Pancasila idea. 

Finally, we can feel optimistic about the sustainability of Pancasila values. This is because of the generation Z character is more realistic than the generations before. They want stability and security in the future. These characters are the most important factor for keeping Pancasila as the way of life in this country.***

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