KKN UAJY: Serving for and Learning from the Poor

    • Presentation speakers

    KKN is an acronym for Kuliah Kerja Nyata which literally means ‘learning through real work’ or a student study service scheme or social obligatory internships program for students. KKN is to be understood as meaning activities carried out by students for the benefit of the community which are regarded as part of their vocational and civic training. It is very much associated with efforts to involve students and, more generally, institutions of higher education as a whole in national development and to prevent theory from becoming divorced from practice (Monal et.al, n.d).
    Rooted in a rich history of gotong-royong (mutual assistance), KKN had its first observable roots as a program implemented between 1945 and 1949 when Indonesians were struggling for independence from the Dutch. Due to a critical lack of teachers in guerrilla areas at that time, members of the student army were recruited to teach in secondary schools in these areas (Hardjasoemantri, 1981 in William & Eiserman, 1997). After the fighting ceased, the organized students felt a ‘moral commitment’ to continue providing teaching services on a voluntary basis and subsequently developed a volunteer project called Pergerahan dan Penempatan Tenaga Mahasiswa (recruitment and placement of students for the purp ose of teaching, known as PTM in 1951) which lasted until 1962. Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) as the initiator mobilized students and new graduates to fill the shortage of high school teachers in the newly proclaimed country, especially at high schools outside Java (Tim Penyusun Buku Panduan KKN-PPM UGM (2013); Prastowo & Suyono, 2007).

    KKN was introduced in Indonesian higher education system to expand the dissemination of science and technology. At that time, university could be said as exclusive; even many call it ivory tower and virtually untouched by common people. University is associated with high social status and can only be reached by elites, while outside campus there are many people with low knowledge. University is the only source of information, centre of excellence, and only few media that can be used for direct contact with public


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