Home Editorial Countering Radicalism VS Academic Freedom

Countering Radicalism VS Academic Freedom

Radicalism is now a word which is often mentioned and it is frightening. As a result, a lot of efforts have been carried out by many stakeholders to fight against it. Radicalism is also often associated with certain movements. In response to this phenomenon, the government of Indonesia plans to deal with the radicalism by cooperating with academicians by involvement in the election of rectors in universities, especially the state universities.

In regard to this, Minister of Home Affairs, Tjahjo Kumolo said that the government plans to withdraw the authority and consideration of the rector election to the president, but the mechanism remains at the Ministry of Research and Higher Education. Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also explained that this plan is part of the integration of political decisions from the regional government to the central government. The integration is aimed at strengthening Pancasila ideology and avoiding infiltration of radical understandings into campuses.

Political observer of Paramadina University, Hendri Satrio views that the idea of inclusion of the President in the election of the rector is a setback for the academic and democratic world. As an educational entity, the universities should be able to stand on their own political tasks in accordance with their vision and mission. Hendri asserted, if a rector is elected by the president, it means that this is in-campus political practice and a form of government's desire to control the freedom of the campus.

Meanwhile, Former Rector of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta, Azyumardi Azra criticized the government's discourse that wants to involve the president in electing the rector of the state universities. Azyumardi also said that the involvement of the president would make the university lose its autonomy and would bring about academic autonomy and scientific autonomy.

Actually, campus is a free area of expression as long as it carries the scientific matters in thought and application. Campus is an academic world that upholds theoretically and empirically idealism. For Indonesian nation, the role of campus in the political journey is very great. Freedom of thought and scientific action has become its own power in the process of democracy that occurred in Indonesia. Starting from the era of 60's, 70s to the beginning reform in 1998, the campus has become a force in criticizing and taking action on every government policy that is not pro people. In addition, it is from Campus where it graduates future leaders of the nation. Many stakeholders do not want the normalization of campus life in the New Order era to re-occur. This is because repression of campus life may emerge on the reason of counteracting radicalism.

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