Dra. LINA SU
Masyarakat dunia pada umumnya masih dibayangi oleh sistem Patriarkal, demikian juga di Indonesia. Struktur masyarakat umumnya masih bersifat patriarkal dan lembaga utama dari sistem ini adalah keluarga. sistem Patriarkal merupakan struktur yang mengabsahkan bentuk struktur kekuasaan dimana lelaki mendominasi wanita. Dominasi ini terjadi karena posisi ekonomis wanita lebih lemah dari lelaki (Arief Budiman: 1985,60) sehingga wanita dalam pemenuhan kebutuhan materialnya sangat tergantung pada lelaki. Kondisi ini merupakan implikasi dari sistem patriarkal yang memisahkan peran utama antara lelaki dan wanita dalam keluarga, lelaki berperan sebagai kepala keluarga, terutama bertugas di sektor publik sebagai pencari nafkah, memberi peluang bagi lelaki untuk memperoleh uang dari pekerjaannya, sedang wanita sebagai “Ratu rumah tangga”, terutama bertugas di sektor domestik sebagai pendidik anak dan pengatur rumah tangga yang tidak memperoleh bayaran. Untuk pemenuhan kebutuhan materialnya wanita tergantung kepada lelaki sebagai pencari nafkah.
Pembagian peran di sektor publik untuk lelaki dan di sektor domestik untuk wanita ini terutama terlihat jelas di lingkungan keluarga ekonomi menengah ke atas, sedangkan pada keluarga ekonomi rendah/bawah dikotomi pembagian peran kerja berdasarkan sistem patriarkal mengalami perubahan. Kesulitan ekonomi memaksa mereka kaum wanita dari kelas ekonomi rendah untuk ikut berperan dalam meningkatkan pendapatan keluarganya dengan bekerja di luar sektor domestik. Keterlibatan wanita sekaligus dalam sektor domestik (yang memang dianggap sebagai peran kodrati mereka) dan di sektor publik selanjutnya akan disebut peran ganda.
Jika dominasi lelaki terhadap wanita karena ditentukan oleh kelemahan posisi ekonomis wanita daripada lelaki, apakah dengan turut sertanya wanita dari golongan ekonomi lemah ini bekerja untuk meningkatkan pendapatan keluarga akan berhasil melepaskannya dari dominasi lelaki, sehingga menempatkannya sejajar bagi lelaki atau sebaliknya peran ganda wanita justru menempatkannya pada posisi yang semakin tertekan/tereksploitasi, karena beban tugas yang ditanggungnya semakin berat, sementara lelaki masih tetap pada peran tunggalnya sebagai pencari nafkah, bukanlah hal ini lebih menguntungkan kaum lelaki.
Akhirnya berdasarkan beberapa studi yang telah dilakukan terlihat kecenderungan bahwa dengan peran gandanya wanita dari golongan ekonomi lemah ini justru semakin tertekan/tereksploitasi. Mengapa demikian? permasalahan inilah yang menarik untuk dikaji dalam tulisan ini.
Berdasarkan beberapa faktor, maka dalam tulisan ini unit analisanya ialah bentuk keluarga batih dari golongan ekonomi lemah sedang fokus analisanya ialah kondisi sosial ekonomi wanita bekerja dari golongan ini. Sesuai dengan fokus analisanya maka penulis mempergunakan perspektif Karl Marx untuk membantu menyoroti masalah ini.
1. Keberadaan Pekerja Wanita di Pasar Tenaga Kerja
Keterlibatan wanita dalam pasar tenaga kerja ditinjau dari perspektif Karl Marx erat kaitannya dengan perkembangan sistem kapitalis. Pada dasarnya perkembangan kapitalis sangat tergantung pada akumulasi modal dengan demikian kedudukan buruh dalam sistem ini hanya merupakan komoditi yang dinilai dengan nilai tukar di pasar bebas. Untuk memperoleh keuntungan yang sebesar-besarnya dari proses produksinya maka sistem ini berupaya untuk menekan biaya proses produksi seminimal mungkin, sehingga pada prakteknya upah buruh dibayar murah, tapi buruh harus mencurahkan waktu yang panjang untuk bekerja bagi kepentingan kapitalis. Perspektif Marx menggambarkan dengan cara ini kapitalis memperoleh keuntungan yang besar sehingga bisa menjadi modal untuk mengembangkan usaha. Perkembangan usaha ini selanjutnya memerlukan penambahan jumlah tenaga kerja, karena tenaga kerja yang tersedia sudah tidak memadai lagi, maka kekurangan tenaga kerja diambil dari keluarga buruh, yakni dengan melibatkan anggota keluarga mereka. Marx dan Engels dalam hal ini mengemukakan keluarga kelas proletar. Khususnya ekonomi individu dalam kelas buruh sedemikian memprihatinkan sehingga istri dan anak-anak mereka terpaksa bekerja berjam-jam lamanya dalam pabrik untuk mencukupi pendapatan demi kelangsungan keluarga mereka (Doyle; 1986, 137). Memperhatikan faktor di atas terlihat bahwa keterlibatan wanita dalam pasar tenaga kerja merupakan pengaruh dari:
1. Faktor ekstern yang merupakan faktor penarik untuk bekerja yakni adanya kesempatan kerja yang ditawarkan oleh kapitalis.
2. Faktor intern, yang merupakan faktor pendorong untuk bekerja yakni desakan/kesulitan ekonomi keluarga.
Faktor kesempatan kerja dan faktor untuk pemenuhan kebutuhan ekonomi inilah yang pada hakekatnya menghantarkan kaum wanita untuk bekerja di sektor publik.
2. Kedudukan Pekerja Wanita di Dalam Struktur Ketenagakerjaan
Dalam persepsi Marx untuk melihat kedudukan pekerja wanita maka tidak terlepas dari fokus analisanya terhadap masyarakat kapitalis. Dalam struktur kapitalis kedudukan seseorang ditentukan oleh penguasaan alat produksi, dalam kasus pekerja kelas bawah ini maka kedudukan seseorang ditentukan oleh kemampuannya untuk menghasilkan produksi berdasarkan pekerjaannya. Dalam kapitalisme pembagian kerja dalam perusahaan ditentukan oleh dorongan efisiensi produksi dalam hubungannya untuk memaksimalkan keuntungan (Marx: Anthony Giddens: 1987: 122). Artinya bahwa penempatan posisi seseorang dalam struktur ketenagakerjaan ditentukan oleh tingkat produktifitasnya dan ketrampilannya, selanjutnya akan memperlihatkan variasi upah yang berbeda berdasarkan tingkat produktifitasnya. Akibatnya siapa yang mampu bekerja lebih keras dalam jangka waktu yang panjang akan menghasilkan produksi yang lebih banyak berarti akan memperoleh upah yang lebih besar. Pada gilirannya akan menempatkan posisinya pada kedudukan yang lebih baik dalam struktur ketenagakerjaannya.
Konsekuensinya terhadap pekerja wanita kriteria ini jelas tidak menguntungkan. Wanita dari golongan ekonomi lemah yang secara umum identik dengan kemiskinan dan tingkat pendidikan maupun ketrampilan rendah, maka ketika wanita memutuskan untuk terlibat bekerja di sektor publik maka ia harus mau menerima jenis pekerjaan apa saja yang ditawarkan kapitalis, yang umumnya menempatkan mereka pada pekerjaan yang tidak memerlukan ketrampilan khusus dan umumnya berupah rendah. Sedang kesulitan ekonomi memaksa mereka untuk tetap melaksanakan sendiri tugas-tugas kerumahtanggaannya, untuk menggaji orang lain merupakan hal yang tidak mungkin. Keterikatannya terhadap pekerjaan domestik/rumahtangga menyebabkan waktu yang tercurah untuk bekerja di sektor
publik sangat terbatas. Kesempatan kerja bagi kaum wanita yang umumnya hanya terbatas pada pekerjaan berupah rendah serta keterbatasan waktu yang bisa dicurahkan untuk bekerja diluar sektor domestik menempatkan mereka pada posisi yang rendah dalam struktur ketenagakerjaan. Sementara lelaki memperoleh posisi yang lebih baik, karena bisa mencurahkan waktunya secara penuh untuk bekerja di sektor publik, sebab mereka tidak terbebani oleh tugas-tugas di sektor domestik. Dengan demikian mereka dapat berproduksi dan memperoleh upah lebih besar dari wanita. Akhirnya baik di sektor domestik maupun di sektor publik wanita tetap didominasi oleh kaum lelaki, karena pada kenyataan struktur ketenagakerjaan juga menempatkan lelaki pada posisi ekonomis yang lebih kuat dari kaum wanita, sehingga dalam pemenuhan kebutuhan materialnya wanita masih tergantung pada kaum lelaki.
Marx mengemukakan bahwa situasi yang terjadi dalam hubungan ekonomi akan merembet/mempengaruhi bentuk hubungan pada struktur sosial non- ekonomis. Dengan kata lain sistem struktur hubungan kerja yang diciptakan oleh sistem kapitalis akan mempengaruhi terciptanya struktur masyarakat patriarkal. Kedua sistem ini, kapitalis dan patriarkal menempatkan wanita pada posisi yang terdominasi dan semakin tereksploitasi dalam sistem kapitalis.
3. Wanita Bekerja di Indonesia
Fenomena wanita bekerja di Indonesia cenderung terlihat di kalangan ekonomi rendah terutama di pedesaan. Adapun yang mendorong mereka bekerja terutama disebabkan oleh kondisi ekonomi keluarga.
Indonesia merupakan negara agraris, pada dekade 1960-an sektor pertanian pernah menempati posisi teratas dalam penyerapan tenaga kerja wanita, bahkan sebagian besar pekerjaan di sektor pertanian ini dikuasai oleh pekerja wanita. Pekerjaan lelaki di sektor ini umumnya terbatas pada masa pengolahan lahan, sedangkan pada tahap merawat sampai memetik basil pertanian sebagian besar dikerjakan kaum wanita. Pada era ini kedudukan wanita pekerja tidak terlalu di persoalkan, karena pekerjaan di sektor pertanian kurang menuntut pencurahan waktu yang terus menerus serta dapat dilakukan dilingkungan domestik, sehingga tidak mengganggu tugas kerumahtanggaan, tidak menuntut adanya pendidikan dan ketrampilan khusus, berarti diferensiasi pekerjaan kurang mempengaruhi upah yang diterima. Pada dekade 1970-an, ketika mekanisasi melanda di sektor ini, banyak jenis pekerjaan yang semula merupakan lapangan pekerjaan bagi wanita beralih menjadi pekerjaan lelaki, karena pemakaian mekanisasi dan teknik modern di sektor pertanian memerlukan cara pengerjaan yang dianggap lebih pantas untuk dikerjakan oleh kaum lelaki. Sehingga terjadi penurunan drastis dalam penyerapan tenaga kerja wanita di sektor ini.
Turunnya daya serap sektor pertanian terhadap tenaga kerja wanita mendorong wanita untuk terpaksa bekerja di sektor publik terutama di sektor industri. Hal ini dimungkinkan karena pengembangan industrialisasi di Indonesia masih diorientasi pada usaha padat karya, agar sektor indus tri dapat menyerap tenagakerja lebih banyak. Berbeda dengan sektor pertanian maka di sektor industri ada hirarki jenis pekerjaan dan upah berdasarkan skill. Pada struktur kerja primer, seseorang memperoleh ganjaran yang lebih baik, adanya promosi jabatan, hanya untuk dapat memasuki sektor primer ini seseorang harus memiliki pendidikan, skill/ketrampilan khusus serta terikat pada peraturan dan disiplin kerja yang ditetapkan, terutama masalah waktu bekerja. Sedang sektor sekunder, biasanya ditandai dengan pekerjaan yang tidak memerlukan ketrampilan khusus dan berupah rendah, kadang kala bersifat musiman.
Pekerja wanita kelas rendah karena umumnya tidak memiliki pendidikan dan ketrampilan khusus mereka cenderung bekerja di sektor sekunder tersebut. Peran di dalam keluarga juga masih membelenggu mereka sehingga waktu yang tercurah untuk bekerja di sektor publik ini tidak sepenuhnya. Akibatnya upah yang rendah akan semakin rendah karena produktifitasnya rendah. Biasanya pekerjaan di sektor ini diupah berdasarkan jam kerja atau jumlah produksi barang yang dihasilkan, sehingga ketika wanita harus cuti untuk tidak bekerja karena tugas kerumahtanggaan maka ia tidak memperoleh upah.
Sektor industrialisasi ini khususnya dalam sistem kapitalis sangat peka terhadap fluktuasi pasar, sehingga jenis, jumlah barang yang diproduksinya sangat tergantung kepada permintaan pasar, sebagai pekerja musiman dan disektor sekunder posisi pekerja wanita sangat tergantung kepada perkembangan dan fluktuasi pasar ini. Jika krisis/resesi ekonomi melanda dimana pabrik harus mengurangi barangnya serta mengurangi pekerjanya maka pertama kali yang menjadi korban adalah pekerja musiman dan pekerja di sektor sekunder yang sebagian besar terdiri dari kaum wanita.
4. Wanita dan Struktur Sosial di Indonesia
Indonesia sebagai negara yang menjunjung tinggi hak-hak asasi manusia, mengakui sepenuhnya kesamaan derajat manusia dan tidak mentolerir adanya eksploitasi/dominasi suatu golongan terhadap golongan manusia lainnya, memang dominasi suatu golongan terhadap golongan lainnya merupakan tindakan yang tidak manusiawi. Karena manusia pada dasarnya adalah sama, namun struktur sosial lah yang menyebabkan mereka ter-stratifikasi di dalam hubungan sosialnya.
Marx mengemukakan bahwa struktur ekonomi yang menyebabkan munculnya kelas sosial. Namun dalam melihat kasus di Indonesia ini penulis cenderung menyimpulkan bahwa struktur sosial masyarakat yang bersifat patriarkal sebenarnya yang membentuk kelas sosial dan mewarnai pola hubungan sosial di dalam masyarakat terutama antara wanita dan leleki. Secara implisit di Indonesia posisi lelaki lebih menguntungkan dari wanita, wujud konkritnya terlihat pada pembagian peran/tugas antara lelaki dan wanita dalam keluarga.
Peran lelaki sebagai kepala keluarga dan pencari nafkah serta wanita sebagai ibu rumahtangga, ternyata menempatkan wanita pada posisi yang kurang menguntungkan, karena ketika orang tua akan memutuskan untuk membiayai pendidikan anaknya umumnya kaum lelaki yang mendapat prioritas utama untuk memperoleh pendidikan yang tinggi untuk bekal menjadi kepala keluarga dan pencari nafkah yang baik. Sedang wanita kurang perlu mendapat pendidikan tinggi karena nantinya juga harus bertugas di rumah, kembali ke rumah mengurus keluarga, persepsi ini yang merugikan kaum wanita karena dianggap kurang penting memperoleh pendidikan yang tinggi. Posisi wanita akan kurang menguntungkan dan semakin tidak menguntungkan jika ia berperan ganda, dimana ia harus bersaing dengan kaum pria yang dari segi pendidikan dan pencurahan waktu ke sektor publik sudah unggul dari kaum wanita.
Ketimpangan kelas berdasarkan jenis kelamin ini sepertinya kurang dipersoalkan di Indonesia karena sistem masyarakatnya yang bersifat patriarkal membenarkan hal ini berlangsung. Bahkan hal ini dianggap wajar karena pembagian peran kedua jenis kelamin ini memang dipersiapkan sesuai dengan nilai-nilai kodratnya masing-masing.
Selama struktur masyarakat patriarkal ini masih bertahan, maka selama itu pula wanita akan tetap menjadi warga “kelas dua” di dalam kehidupan sosial ekonominya, lantas upaya apa yang harus dilakukan agar dapat mengangkat derajat wanita, untuk mampu menjadi mitra sejajar kaum lelaki ?
Melihat persoalan ini ternyata bukan hanya sekedar persoalan sektoral dalam arti wanita di sektor domestik dan lelaki disektor publik. Tetapi ternyata lebih tertuju pada persoalan struktural, yakni persepsi struktur sosial yang bersifat patriarkal yang telah mengakar di dalam masyarakat Indonesia yang perlu diubah.
Peran ganda wanita tidak akan menempatkan wanita pada posisi yang semakin terdominasi jika diimbangi oleh adanya peran ganda pria. Berarti harus ada perubahan struktural, dimana sistem patriarkal yang cenderung “menganak emaskan” lelaki harus ditinjau kembali. Peran wanita dan lelaki tidak lagi dipisahkan secara dikotomis, tetapi perlu adanya pembagian peran yang saling menguntungkan, karena pada hakekatnya terselenggaranya kehidupan keluarga dengan segala faktor sosial ekonomi yang mendukungnya menjadi tanggungjawab bersama.
Akhirnya penulis berpendapat jika ada peran ganda wanita maka ada juga peran ganda pria, sehingga wanita dan pria dapat saling mengembangkan diri dan potensi yang dimilikinya, tidak terikat oleh struktur sosial yang tidak menguntungkan, dengan demikian wanita dan pria akan menjadi sumber daya manusia yang potensial dan bermanfaat bagi terselenggaranya keberlangsungan hidup keluarga, bangsa dan negara.
Budiman, Arief, Pembagian Kerja Secara Seksual, Gramedia, 1985, Jakarta.
Giddens, Anthony, Kelompok, Kekuasaan dan Konflik, Rajawali, 1987, Jakarta.
Gornick, Vivian, Wanita Dalam Sains, Pustaka Sinar Harapan, 1988, Jakarta.
Jhonson, Doyle Paul, Teori Sosioloai Klasik dan Modern, Jilid I, Gramedia, 1986, Jakarta.
Sajogyo, pudjiwati, Peranan Wanita dalam Perkembangan Masyarakat Desa, Rajawali, 1983, Jakarta.
Curriculum, as both practice and text, is a medium for negotiating and defining preferred roles, practices, perspectives, and knowledge sets. The generation and implementation of curriculum in the domestic science teacher certification and professional housekeeping programs at the Macdonald Institute for Domestic Science was instrumental in defining emerging professions and subjectivities for women at the turn of the twentieth century. They tied women to familiar spheres of influence while allowing them to extend that influence into the public realm.
The history of post-secondary domestic science curriculum in Canada reveals a highly amorphous, interdisciplinary and female-defined field of uncertain academic status. Domestic science programs have featured courses ranging from Fancy Sewing and Cooking to Bacteriology and Chemistry. Ornamental subjects, liberal arts, social sciences, education, biological sciences, and physical sciences have all been represented in the higher education domestic science curriculum since the discipline first took hold in institutions of Canadian higher education at the turn of the twentieth century. Domestic science has been celebrated and vilified, both externally and internally, and often simultaneously; within it, areas of study have appeared and disappeared, broadened and narrowed, merged and splintered. Admissions, assessment, curricular, and pedagogical standards have all evolved. Funding sources for the discipline have materialized and vanished over the years, and academic reporting relationships have undergone numerous incarnations. Faculties have been altered, expanded and contracted, and since the early 1900s the nature and demands of the student body have changed dramatically. Variously named Domestic Arts, Domestic Sciences, Home Economics, Household Sciences, Household Arts, Euthenics, Human Ecology, Nutritional and Food Sciences, or Family and Consumer Studies, the related curriculum has been reconceived and revised repeatedly over its history. At its core, this area of post-secondary study for women emerged as a deliberate response to pressing concerns about the health and welfare of the nation. Post-secondary education in domestic science ‚moved women into public policy under the rubric of social and municipal housekeeping,‛1 and shaped, as well as legitimated, active roles for women in social reform movements. A micro-historical case study of the early professional programs curricula at the Macdonald Institute of Domestic Science — founded in 1903 as a branch of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in Guelph, Ontario — allows for an intimate understanding of the ways in which the curriculum both tethered women to traditional roles in the domestic sphere and prepared them to taketentative steps into emergent roles as social reformers committed to improving the health and happiness of Canadians.
At the turn of the twentieth century, when there remained considerable reticence to permit women access into higher education programs, post-secondary studies in domestic science offered a relatively uncontroversial option for Canadian women who needed to earn their own way in the world or, more controversially, desired the challenge of work and wished to contribute to society outside of the home. As demand for domestic science teachers, nutritionists, dieticians, and institutional housekeepers grew, diploma or certificate programs in domestic or household science began at land grant institutions throughout the mid-western United States.2 In Canada, programs were offered at the Lillian Massey School of Household Science in Toronto, Normal School of Domestic Science and Art in Hamilton, MacDonald College at McGill, Truro Domestic Science School, University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, University of Western Ontario, University of Ottawa, Université Laval, Université de Montreal, Université de Sherbrooke, Mount St. Vincent College, St. Francis Xavier University, Mount Allison University, and Acadia University.3 In 1902, Victoria College at the University of Toronto established the first bachelor of household science degree in Canada.4 In 1903, domestic science supporter Adelaide Hoodless, with the generous financial support of tobacco magnate Sir William Macdonald, the firm political support of OAC President Dr. James Mills and the Canadian Agriculture and Dairy Commissioner J.W. Robertson, reconstituted the Hamilton School of Domestic Science and Art as the Ontario Agricultural College’s Macdonald Institute of Domestic Science. Sixty-one years later, the Macdonald Institute, along with the OAC and the Ontario Veterinary College, would serve as the founding colleges of what is now the University of Guelph.
When the Macdonald Institute opened in 1903, it offered a range of interest and non-professional programs in the form of three-month short courses and one-year certificate and diploma courses in home- making and domestic science.5 It also offered one- and two-year professional certificate courses in domestic science teaching and professional housekeeping, designed to open up professional fields of practice for women. The years 1903 to 1920 marked a time of deliberate experimentation in the development of professional domestic science programs at the institute. During this period, administrators, instructors, students and stakeholders worked at defining the curriculum and negotiating associated roles for women that promised greater social influence and responsibility.
The authors of Challenging Professions: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Women’s Professional Work argue in their introduction6 that it has long been difficult to arrive at shared understandings of what specialized knowledge and skills constitute any given profession. This difficulty was particularly pronounced for domestic science professionals whose work was so closely associated with gendered roles and duties characterized as women’s natural area of expertise, rather than as a set of professional skills and knowledge acquired through training and education. Neither conventionally held beliefs about the ability and suitability of women for professional work, nor the conventionally held beliefs about the purpose and nature of the private sphere, fit logically with prevailing notions of a profession. The shifting ground beneath the construction of domestic science professional programs resulted in the equally tentative and uncertain early formation of women’s identities and gender roles in relation to the curriculum, as was the case at the Guelph campus where few women, save one or two, were taking interest classes in home-dairying or poultry-raising.7
For nearly thirty years, from the OAC’s founding in 1874 to the establishment of the Macdonald Institute in 1903, the library, lecture halls, laboratories, and residences at Guelph rang mainly with the footfalls and voices of men. The OAC — under the governance of the provincial Department of Agriculture rather than the Department of Education — was intended to serve Ontario’s rural population of predominantly lower to upper middle-class, white, British heritage. Farmers and their sons came to the college in Guelph to learn the business and practice of agriculture. They enrolled in practical certificate and diploma programs in agriculture or animal husbandry which were granted by the OAC, or took a three-year degree at the college by arrangement with the University of Toronto.8 The women in their families typically remained behind, learning to cultivate the domestic life of their homes and communities as the men learned to cultivate the productivity and wealth of their farms.
Steeped in idealized Victorian notions of the beauty and dignity of a simple country life — with women at the hearth and men at the business of farming — many rural Ontarians held the belief that higher education was best reserved as a strictly male prerogative. Nonetheless, the ideological, political, and economic changes that had been gaining momentum from the mid-1800s led to changes in the nature of work and home-life, and the roles that men and women held in society. The predominantly agrarian Ontario economy was becoming increasingly industrialized, and cheap unskilled labour was in demand. Young women, whether by choice or need, were leaving their rural homes to find work in urban centres.9 Those who did so ‚displayed a marked preference for work in shops, factories and offices rather than in domestic service which, along with agriculture, had been the largest female employer.‛10
As a result of this movement of women and men from rural to urban settings, fears arose about the potential deterioration of the values, productivity, and well-being of rural home-life. Anxieties developed concerning rural communities being left behind in the process of modernization and the development of resources and services, and these fears were exploited in discourses aimed at instigating rural education programs. The collaborators in the establishment of the Macdonald Institute acknowledged these threats and responded by arguing that educational opportunities and the promise of interesting, rewarding professions for women as domestic science teachers and professional housekeepers would serve as the best antidote. In the fall of 1903, alongside women taking non-professional programs, the first women enrolled in professional programs arrived on the OAC campus and began to occupy the newly- constructed Macdonald Institute and women’s residence, Macdonald Hall.
During the first seventeen years of the normal, or teacher certification, programs in domestic science at the Macdonald Institute, from 1903 to 1920, Cornell-educated Lady Principal Mary Urie-Watson, established discourses that relied on essentialized images of women, assigning them roles associated with the education, care and rearing of children. However, the program also subtly undermined discourses that confined women to performing those functions exclusively in the private sphere, by cloaking associated work outside of the home in the language of traditional, gender-defined roles for women. If a woman was responsible for health and hygiene in the home, the domestic science teacher was responsible for educating both mother and child in sanitary practices and aid to the sick. If a woman was responsible for seeing to the dietary needs of the family, the domestic science teacher was responsible for teaching nutrition and methods of preparing and serving meals. Similarly, if a woman was responsible for the moral and intellectual development of her children, the domestic science teacher was merely expanding and supporting that function through instruction.11
The domestic science teacher education curriculum for the normal program students was engineered to inculcate the entirely female student body of the Macdonald Institute into these functions. The women spent most of their time in segregated classes, but the normal school and professional housekeeping students did share classes and lab space with OAC men for a few jointly required courses in biology, chemistry and English literature taught by OAC instructors. The first year of the domestic science normal program was primarily dedicated to subject matter and the second year was chiefly practical. Students in their junior year took classes in Elementary Cooking, Elementary Chemistry, Physiology and Hygiene, Foods, The House, Psychology, History of Education, General Methods of Teaching, Elementary Economics, and Biology. Six periods of practice teaching were assigned during one term, and three periods were laid aside for an elective course to be taken within one term. Students in their senior year of the domestic science normal school program concentrated on further science work and methods of teaching. Senior normal program students took classes in Chemistry of Food, Advanced Cookery, Bacteriology, School Laundry, Marketing and Domestic Science Methods. In addition, senior students were given one lesson in Physiology and Hygiene, and one lesson in Ethics of the Home, in one term; one period of Home Nursing and Emergencies was assigned for two terms, and periods were left open for elective subjects. Practice teaching, demonstrations, and experimental work were important applied components of the senior year curriculum for normal program students, and rounded out the professional course of study recognized by the Ontario Department of Education from 1903 to 1911.12
In its early days, the normal school program built a strong reputation with the Ontario Department of Education and enjoyed some influence over the curriculum taught in public schools. However, in 1911 the normal program was decertified. It is not entirely clear what motivated the Department of Education to change the province’s domestic science teaching certification requirements to a specialized one-year, rather than two-year, program with access limited to those already holding second class teaching certificates. It may have been prompted by concerns regarding the quality of the program at the Macdonald Institute or in similar normal schools. It may have been precipitated by tensions between the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture regarding authority over the teaching of domestic science. Alternatively, it may have been influenced by a move to concentrate and expand teacher education at the University of Toronto, rather than at various normal schools.13
Whatever the reason, the decision meant that the institute could no longer certify women to teach domestic science in the province’s public schools. However, the institute continued to have long waiting lists for applicants who either already possessed a first or second class teaching certificate; or wished to teach domestic science out of province, where the Macdonald Institute normal program certificate was still recognized, in private schools, or for associations such as Women’s Institutes and Young Women’s Christian Associations. Other fields, such as ‚commercial, hospital dietician and Women’s Institute work,‛ were open to institute graduates, which, as Urie-Watson commented, ‚yield equally satisfactory returns‛ for the graduates.14
Under Urie-Watson, the normal program curriculum covered considerable territory, but only at a depth sufficient to prepare the normal program students to instruct school-age girls in the subject matter and practices. Proponents of domestic science were well aware that the discipline would not flourish without an adequate supply of teachers to instruct generations of women in the value of methodical care of home and family, and raise the work to the status of a profession. Urie-Watson wrote:
The aim of our Normal course is to train teachers of Domestic Science who will use the subject for the better training of girls, not only to retain and develope [sic] their interests in home affairs, but to open their eyes to the womanly work of home making as well as to aid in mental and physical training.15
The cookery courses were not intended to produce chefs, but rather competent, efficient, and frugal cookery teachers. The curriculum for the foods courses concentrated only on the knowledge that teachers would pass along to future wives and mothers about the criteria for determining the nutritional value of foods by their composition; the effect of foods on health; forms of contamination of foods; and finally, methods of quality control.
The focus of chemistry classes was applied, not theoretical, considering key elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen alone and in compound form. Acids, bases, and salts were studied, as were the basics of molecular structures and bonds. Organic chemistry was taught in relation to foods, physiology, hygiene and sanitation, and inorganic chemistry was studied in relation to hygiene and sanitation. The physiology curriculum focused on the development and care of healthy bodies and contained a detailed consideration of the histology of bone, musculature, connective tissue, and nervous system. Hygiene, sanitation, and bacteriology classes emphasized the importance of a thoroughly clean living environment for the health of the family home. It was believed that once women understood the scientific basis for dusting, cleaning, ventilating, and controlling waste, they would find the work more interesting and important.
The curriculum clearly conveyed the message that women were on the frontlines of nutrition and health care, chiefly responsible for ensuring the health of the family and stopping the spread of infectious diseases by ensuring sanitary conditions existed in the home and community. These duties extended into lobbying for, as well as contributing to, efforts to improve waste management and sewage, water treatment, and food processing. As Nancy Tomes has noted, ‚the conception of the housewife as a public health crusader nicely complemented the educational and political goals of the early home economists.‛16 Domestic science teachers played a critical role in conveying knowledge about sanitation and hygiene, and the institute placed a great deal of emphasis on equipping its teachers for this task.
The practice teaching component of the normal course was vital for the development and demonstration of professional skills. The senior normal course students were required to complete three classes of practice teaching, and emphasis was placed upon the ability of the teacher candidates to control the classroom and deliver an engaging and clear lesson. The practice teaching component most definitely served as a gate-keeping mechanism for controlling the quality of those who earned professional accreditation from the institute. A candidate by the name of Miss Brown failed her practice teaching requirement in 1905 because of an inability to manage the public school class and a lack of energy and spiritedness.17 Students who failed in this area, such as Miss Brown and Isabel Pease, were encouraged to get more experience, through the Women’s Institutes or as volunteer demonstration lecturers in a public school classroom in their home towns, before attempting to return to the Institute to pass this component of the normal program.18 Urie-Watson was uncompromising in the evaluation of her students.
Student demonstration, or show-and-tell, lectures were a required component of the senior year, and each senior normal program student was expected to give three demonstrations (or one per term). The demonstrations were lectures that focused on both theory and practice: they were ‚usually on some certain class of foodstuffs, and the illustration [was] the actual preparation and serving of several dishes in close relation to the subject of the lecture.‛19 The audience for the demonstration consisted of faculty members and the demonstrator’s own class, ‚whose painful duty it is to criticize everything the demonstrator does and says, while they are on tenter-hooks [sic] of nervous sympathy with her, each knowing that her own turn will come soon.‛20 The demonstration was described by a student as ‚really a trial of the strength of the ‘victim,’ her foresight, ability, artistic sense, imagination, oratory, all are being tested. Her own personality counts strongly, either for or against her, and originality is always commended.‛21
Although demonstrations were a stressful trial for the students, they were also an opportunity for the women to research a topic in detail, and then test their own ability to gain and demonstrate their competency in the subject in a public forum. As one student wrote, ‚When one has read all the bulletins, cook-books, and foods authorities for information, written what amounts to a small thesis on the subject in hand, arranged it to dovetail with the practical manipulation, and memorized it, one will never again be confounded on that particular subject.‛22 The demonstration lectures, similar to the practice teaching sessions, were a structured opportunity to practice employing the discourse of the profession and to perform in the role of a domestic science teacher. As Judith Butler reminds us, the constitution of gendered identity is accomplished in part through the repeated performance of gender acts. ‚Gender reality is performative which means, quite simply, that it is real only to the extent that it is performed.‛23 Acting as a domestic science teacher or demonstrator allowed the women to play the part, practice their lines, find their motivation and perfect their mannerisms, shaping and acclimatizing themselves to the roles available to domestic science professionals.
Experimental work was also a part of the senior year and included studies into the best method for cooking beans; for ensuring high nutritional value and taste in cooking vegetables; for mixing fat into dough; and for determining whether strong or soft wheat flour is best for milk biscuits made with baking powder. The intent of the research experience was to cultivate familiarity with scientific methodology, so that the women could both teach and apply methodical analysis and logical problem-solving in their own lives. Each of these experimental reports was written as any formal laboratory report, with an introductory section with aims and hypothesis; a methods section with materials and apparatus; a results section containing observations and discussion; and finally, a conclusion. Through experimental work, the women were meant to learn the vaunted discourse and practices of science, and pull them into the realm of domestic concerns, thereby improving the profile of work associated with the home.24
Engaging with the curriculum was transformational for many of the students. Reflections written by both normal program and professional housekeeping students, between 1903 and 1920, demonstrate how they matured through the trials of academic work. Personal letters and articles written for the school newspaper present a narrative of naïve, inexperienced, and relatively uneducated young women, changed through learning and living at the institute and relishing the sense of accomplishment they gained.25 Several of the women noted the change in themselves over the course of their years of study.
A 1904 issue of the student-run Ontario Agricultural College newsletter, the OAC Review, contains several instances of this discourse of maturation, which contributed not only to divisions between senior and junior student classes, but also to the growing sense of competency and knowledge developed by seniors and desired by juniors.26 For example, the following senior student remark was included in a quotes and comments section about the junior class:
It was with much surprise and some disbelief that the physiology class learned that they actually had two bones in the lower part of their arm. Indeed, even yet, some fail to be convinced of the fact, and insist that they have but one. Our lecturer thinks that there must be something wrong with them. (We don’t doubt it).27
Similarly, the following excerpt from a student writing in the same issue of the OAC Review uses language that carefully delineates novice from expert and experienced from inexperienced. The senior normal program student who authored the piece equated junior normal students with innocent, curious children eager to explore their world:
There must be, to the mature and experienced mind, something at once interesting and delightful in the observation of the frank and youthful natures of the Junior Normals. The ingenuous wonder and delight of these young creatures over all that meets their gaze is something charming. To the Junior Normals everything is delightful. They investigate the cupboards of the school kitchen with all the joyous ardor of a Columbus exploring new lands. They stick their fingers into the flames of their little stoves to see if it will burn them? [sic] and one of these dear girls, on being shown the tiny burner of the gas range, clasped her hands, exclaiming, ‚Oh, how cute!‛ They parade to the Chemistry building with modest mien and downcast eyes, and only when entrenched behind a fortification of bottles, the formulae of whose labels fill their minds with awe, do they dare to covertly peek around at the masculine forms opposite. Long may the Junior Normals show the same commendable innocence!28
Referring to the juniors as ‚girls‛ and using diminutives such as ‚little‛ and ‚tiny‛ reinforces the notion that the members of the incoming class lack the perspective and skill of the senior class members.29 at Queen’s University, 1895-1905: A Little ‘Sphere’ All Their Own?‛ Ontario History 78, no. 4 (1986): 331-49; Margaret Gillet, We Walked Very Warily: A History of Women at McGill (Montréal: Eden Women’s Publications, 1981); and Anne Rochon Ford, A Path Not Strewn with Roses: One Hundred Years of Women at the University of Toronto 1884-1984 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985).
Again, in a 1912 article in the OAC Review, a more senior student observed that some of the ‚Freshies‛ were considerably less informed: ‚Some of the girls know positively nothing. One girl asked today if a cow’s rib went to its tail. Another asked if they put egg yolks in butter, but the majority know better than that.‛30 Learning about science was particularly revolutionary for many women enrolled in science courses across the programs offered by the institute. Exposure to the science curriculum inspired both awe and fear, as is evident in the phrasing of a piece written by a normal program student, entitled ‚The Food Analysis Phantom,‛ for the OAC Review:
Its poor victim sits down and raises the glass of water to her lips — it is no longer water to her, but a combination of ‘colorless, transparent gases, possessing neither taste nor smell.’ She turns confidently to the bread plate with the thought that the enemy will be forced to flee before its staunch solidity. But no! it is not bread that she sees, but a heap of ‘white glistening powder’ and a loathsome, sticky, glutinous mass from which she turns in disgust, still hopefully (for the Home Economics student is not easily daunted) she directs her attention to her glass of milk, and like magic, there appears before her mental vision a hopeless conglomeration of globules, particles, and hideous wriggling, crawling, creeping forms. Almost in despair, she falls back upon the Irishman’s ever faithful friend, but alas! The ever faithful is faithless — no mealy tuber is there; its place is usurped by the aggressive mass of white powder, with a new attendant this time in the shape of a muddy-looking liquid. Involuntarily she exclaims, ‚Et tu Brute!‛ and feels a sudden strong sympathy for King Midas. In an attempt to shake off the baleful influence which is overpowering her, she cries frantically, ‘May I trouble you for the NaCl Miss M——? Pardon, I mean the C12H22O11. Amid peals of laughter, the nightmare vanishes, but sad to say, only to return at the first opportunity.31
The discourse of this passage is indicative of unsettling and exciting changes in a sense of self that resulted from encounters with the curriculum. The intent of the curriculum was to change the perception of domestic work from that of mindless drudgery to that of applied science used in the critical sphere of home-life. Reflections, as in the piece above, demonstrate that the curriculum had some success in meeting that objective. Great attention was paid at the institute to shaping not only the beliefs and values of students, but also their personal appearance and discourse, to conform to a defined image of the seriousness and importance of domestic science.
Alongside the professional teacher education program in domestic science, the Macdonald Institute also offered a professional course of study in institutional housekeeping. As the numbers of hospitals, prisons and other institutions expanded at the start of the twentieth century — particularly after the First World War — the demand for competent institutional housekeepers grew. As was the case with teaching, women were believed to be naturally well-suited to managing the work of cooking and cleaning institutions such as hospitals, prisons, or hospices, which were conceived to be much like family homes, but on a greatly expanded scale. Transforming institutional housekeeping into a profession, through education and certification, was seen as a means for raising the profile of the work and making it a more attractive option for women. As Urie-Watson wrote, ‚judging from the letters we receive asking us to recommend housekeepers, there are many institutions in need of well trained women.‛32 The descriptions of the ideal institutional housekeeper contained in these requests for candidates were highly influential in shaping the curriculum. Edwin Roghs, inspector of prisons and public charities for Ontario, wrote to Urie-Watson in the fall of 1905 requesting candidates for a matron position:
I would say that the requirements of a matron are to take full charge of the food supply of the institution, to see that the quality of food is of the best quality, that it is properly cooked and properly served to the inmates and attendants . . . Of course, in addition to this, there is required a great deal of good discipline management with the care of cooks and assistants, and this part requires a woman of pretty strong character and good ability.33
C.K. Clarke, from Rockwood Hospital in Kingston, wrote to Charlotte Kent, an instructor at the institute in 1905, seeking candidates for the position of hospital matron. He wanted:
A woman of modern education and special qualifications . . . Preferably she should be a Canadian. A woman of culture and refinement, able to take her place with dignity as head of the house, to manage scientifically all the economic questions coming up in connection with the feeding etc. of a household of 700, in fact should be an ideal woman, well equipped in every sense.34
For a woman of these accomplishments, Clarke was prepared to pay 500 dollars per year in addition to room and board.35 Similar requests for women to fill institutional housekeeping positions frequently came to the Macdonald Institute, from mills, bakeries, hospitals, asylums, and schools across the country who wanted women ‚capable of marketing wisely, of calculating the nutritive value of the dietary, of conducting the work of systematically controlling the employees, and of making clear statement reports . . . in a business-like way.‛36
The two-year professional housekeeper certificate program that began in 1904 was intended to equip its students with the ‚correct standards in the preparation of food, housework, sanitation, etc., and to train their executive ability along the lines of institution requirements.‛37 Yet there was concern from supporters that institutions might not afford institutional housekeeping the dignity of a profession, and that the wrong sort of women might be the only ones to enter the field.38 Professional housekeeping did not enjoy the same air of respectability as teaching, and was commonly associated in the court of public opinion with women not fortunate enough to have their own families or competent enough to pursue a different profession. The characterization was not entirely without merit, as many of the applicants to the program were mature women of humble background, such as Ray Robson who, in her application letter to the professional housekeeping program, described herself as follows: ‚I am thirty-eight with a fair share of common sense principals [sic] with a fourth book education, also have had a home training in Bread and Butter and plain cooking, with a little knowledge of what it takes to run a little concern a farm house per week.‛39
Moreover, the work was often very taxing and the working conditions poor. Jean Allen, a graduate employed at a hospital, wrote Urie-Watson to request assistance in finding another position. The demands placed on her time were excessive and conditions at the hospital were deplorable. What little help she had was poorly trained, and her duties included planning, preparing, and serving meals for nurses, doctors, and patients at various hours, as well as overseeing the work of the house staff and laundress. She earned twenty-five dollars a month and had one afternoon a week and every other Sunday off. Urie-Watson advised her to lobby for what changes she could, but urged Allen not to ‚risk your health any longer than you can help‛ and sent along any postings for other positions that came across her desk.40
In spite of assurances that the social position, wages, and living conditions of a professional institutional housekeeper were good, and evidence that the field was poised for rapid expansion,41 women were reticent to pursue the profession, and slow to be convinced of the need or merit of certifying in this field. The enrolment target was set at twelve for each year of the program, but enrolment rarely met the desired number until the end of this first phase of the institute under Urie-Watson, when the post-war expansion of institutional homes and hospitals, and the development of dietetics contributed to the enrolment of twenty-one students as juniors in 1917. Between 1917 and 1929, the professional housekeeping course drew classes ranging from eleven to eighteen first-year students, but administrators did not turn away students from the institutional housekeeping program or run waiting lists as they did for the normal program.
Lower-than-desired application rates did not, however, provoke a concerted effort to expand recruitment beyond that of the originally targeted group of prospective students — single, mature women who needed to support themselves. Rather, the tactic employed to better the application rate was merely to market professional housekeeping as a more attractive option for those women ‚thrown on their own resources‛42:
The mature woman whose household experience has been good, whose health is sound and who is still mentally alert, is the right kind of material for this work, and the demand for trained women is greater than the supply. All but one of last year’s graduates are settled at work with salaries ranging from $35 to $50 per month in addition to living. As living usually means attractive and comfortable quarters, and the social position is good, it will be seen that our housekeeper graduates have prospects which compare favorably with those of our teacher candidates.43
The streamed approach to recruitment likely contributed to the lack of growth in applications to this program during its early years, but the class divisions around this professional field were clearly delineated. The failure to expand recruitment indicates that the institute’s administrators shared the common view that professional housekeeping was the sole purview of a certain ilk of disadvantaged women. The belief that the course of study was only suited to this class of women was evident in the poor response to Urie-Watson’s suggestion that an unqualified normal program applicant consider applying to the professional housekeeping program. On behalf of her sister, Isabel Warner replied to Urie-Watson: ‚I feel sure that she would not be satisfied with the Housekeepers course as I understand it only qualifies one for a position as housekeeper and I know Elizabeth would feel the disappointment later when she realized what that actually means.‛44 Isabel Warner’s concerns for the future social status of her sister were not uncommon.
Retention of students was also problematic in the professional housekeeping program, with an average of three students leaving each year. Failing grades, illnesses, and the lure of paid positions in a field that did not require certification, accounted for much of the attrition. In her annual report for 1912, a particularly difficult year for enrolment, Urie-Watson commented that:
We accepted the full number of twelve for the junior class, but for various reasons the majority dropped off just before the opening day. The capable women we want for this class easily find employment and we had difficulty in raising the number to six. We regret this very much, because trained Housekeepers are already in demand, and two years hence they will be wanted in many quarters. There are many capable women in Ontario working for small wages, who could by this course prepare themselves for good positions with salaries equal to that of the average Domestic Science teacher.45
Such efforts to promote the program, by drawing attention to wage parity with domestic science teachers, failed to draw interest and indicated that money alone was not sufficient cause to attract women to the profession. The cost of attending the institute, although modest, also posed a barrier for independent women; and finally, the academic challenge presented by the courses proved to be an obstacle for completion.
The course of study was certainly a stretch academically for some of the professional housekeeping students. While the normal program students were required to have at least their junior matriculation for admission to their course of study, the professional housekeeping students were required only to be mature women in sound health, with sufficient executive ability and education to do marketing and office work, as well as practical housekeeping. Urie-Watson commented that ‚we have no fixed standard of entrance to the professional housekeeper course, judging each applicant’s qualifications by themselves, but it is open only to mature women who have had a great deal of experience in housekeeping.‛46
Urie-Watson had a healthy respect for the difficulties of the profession and was cautious regarding admission to the program. In the first year, all students were accepted on a probationary basis for the first three months: ‚If at the end of that time we think them unlikely to become successful housekeepers, we purpose to tell them so.‛47 Oftentimes, the lack of advanced or recent academic experience, and less sophisticated approaches to learning, contributed to poorer grade performance. The professional housekeeping students may have outshone the normal school students in the applied aspects of their courses, but many did not demonstrate the same level of academic prowess. As Lillian Beattie recalled years after completing her professional housekeeping course in 1913:
We had not taken notes on lectures for many years, nor had we competed with pupils who had much more education than we. Some had been to university. Others were qualified teachers who had registered to take the Home Economics course preparatory to teaching Domestic Science in the schools.48
Miss Sadlier, a member of the 1905 junior professional housekeeping class, was one of several professional housekeeping students whose coursework was woefully inadequate. Urie-Watson wrote to her following the completion of her first year to deny her request for special consideration:
Neither Mr. Creelman nor I feel that we can lower the pass standard of 53% in all subjects and 50% of the total. Had you failed in one subject and reached 50% on the total, we could have permitted you to pass into the senior class on condition that you took up the weak subject and passed it later. As it is, with a mark of 12% in Foods, 14% in Physiology, 34% in Chemistry and 40% in Cookery Theory and with an average of only 44% on the total, we feel that you are not fitted for the work of the senior class.49
Similarly, Miss Bankier, a student in the same class, was ‚apparently not getting hold of the work well, and she loses many marks through careless spelling of common words.‛50 There were marked differences in the level of academic preparedness and performance between the normal program students and the professional housekeeping students, and the differences were made quite obvious by combining students from both programs in all courses during their first year of study. The differences were reflected in the level of detail and quality of writing in their class notes, and in the differences in the performance and attrition rates of students in the two programs. It seems unlikely that the students themselves would have missed the disparities between the two groups and internalized the differences between the two classes.
The academic workload for teacher candidates and professional housekeeping candidates, however, was not all that different. The junior year of study in the professional housekeeping program was first described as being ‚devoted to general training in the work of an ordinary house.‛51 The professional housekeeping students were not enrolled in specialized classes during their first year of studies; rather, they joined the junior normal program students in their courses. Taking courses with the better prepared normal program students was challenging enough, but taking chemistry classes with these students and some OAC men, who also required that particular course for their diplomas in Agriculture, was particularly difficult. Beattie recalls sitting in a lecture theatre, witnessing the OAC men giving a junior lecturer a difficult time by calling him ‚Chaunticleer‛ to draw attention to his large nose, and throwing objects every time the lecturer said, ‚ah.‛ One of the Macdonald Institute girls stood up and angrily admonished the boys, saying ‚we wanted to take our notes if they didn’t.‛52
For women who found the concepts and the discipline of such courses acutely difficult, being in the presence of those who did not struggle or did not particularly care to learn, was infuriating. The lack of specialized work until the second year of study also frustrated some of the professional housekeeping students, as it was both challenging and not directly relevant to their chosen field. Although there was no great protest over the courses, the curriculum did garner criticism that the first year’s work was ‚of no practical value in the life or work of a housekeeper.‛53 The senior year, which was intended to expose students to ‚the special problems of the professional housekeeper, together with a great deal of actual practice work in the different branches of service in Macdonald Hall,‛ was better received.54
The specialized and applied focus of the second year of the professional housekeeping program took some time to develop. When the housekeeping certificate program opened in September 1904, Urie- Watson and her staff were not entirely certain what the second year of study would feature. Urie-Watson had no compunction about exposing the experimental nature of the developing program and commented in her first annual report on the program that ‚their second year of work will be governed largely by the work which they accomplish this year, and is not yet definitely outlined.‛55 Within a year, it had been determined that in their senior year, the professional housekeeping students would ‚study large kitchen equipments and methods of administration for large buildings, such as our own residences for men and women,‛56 and the Macdonald Institute and Macdonald Hall became the sites for such practical object lessons. Paid staff did the bulk of the work on the OAC campus, but students in the senior year of the housekeeping program were assigned to work in the residence and the institute, and were required to take turns requisitioning all supplies, doing the marketing, managing the stock room, keeping accounts, and supervising an apartment housekeeper. During their practicum, senior housekeeping students were also expected to serve as wait staff, kitchen staff, and cleaning staff ‚for a short time in order to gain accurate and intimate knowledge of the duties and difficulties of each position.‛57
Beattie, a graduate of the program in 1913, recalled that the five days spent in the apartment occupied by Urie-Watson and the head cooking teacher was a very stressful experience. She wrote that ‚the end of each day saw the victim hobbling back to residence to be met by her classmates as if she had been rescued from some untimely calamity.‛58 The women began their week with no recipes and only those supplies that could be found on hand until they had the opportunity to shop for groceries. Urie-Watson would invite guests over for tea with little notice, and those guests would arrive early with additional uninvited guests, to drive home the lesson that a woman must be prepared to welcome and graciously serve any guests who may arrive at the doorstep. In this particular, very traditional expectations for the function of women were reinforced, whether she was the mistress of a house, a paid domestic servant, or matron of an institute.
The coursework on bookkeeping and reporting was highly influenced by the experiences of early graduates from the program, who found they lacked skills and knowledge in this area once they were employed in the field. An introduction to office work was a feature of the second year of study in the professional housekeeping program. This aspect of the curriculum was conceived as ‚an effort to show the students good methods of keeping institute accounts, together with the necessary correspondence, forms, etc.,‛59 but the content was improved by recommendations offered by an alumnus. In 1908, Evelyn Bray, who was working temporarily at the London Insane Asylum filling in for a matron who had no assistant and had taken no holidays for two years, wrote to Urie-Watson about her experience with an assignment to write a report to the Inspector. She found the assignment:
. . . extremely hard work. The form, the phrasing — everything about it was new and difficult — but after I found just what was required, a friend gave some ideas as to form, mode of address, etc., which helped greatly. Then I thought that some of the other girls might have similar work to do and that you would be able to start them off right if you knew such might be required. Another place where I fell short in business method was in keeping copy of all reports, however small. The omission occurred more through not knowing that any importance might be attached to them. So often I wonder if the other girls have to do such things, but suppose they have.60
Urie-Watson replied, ‚Many thanks for reminding me that it is necessary to take up this point with my housekeeper class. These are the sort of things that I am most anxious to know, and those in the field are the only ones that are able to tell me what is wanted.‛61 Subsequently, accounting and report-writing gained attention as a component of the practical work done by the housekeeping students, and the lessons learned by Evelyn Bray were incorporated.
In the first year of the professional housekeeping program, only the chemical and physiological aspects of foods were studied. The foods course in 1904 concentrated on the chemistry of food, and the women learned about how to use a calorimeter to measure the value of food by its ability to produce heat; the molecular structures of various fats, proteins and carbohydrates; and the processes of oxidation and fermentation, and resultant products such as proteases, peptides, and amino acids. They also learned about the chemistry involved in the processes of sterilization, pasteurization, and preservation. The structures of food, such as fat, fibre bundles, and connective tissues in meats, or the yolks and whites of eggs, were studied carefully for all food groups. It was complex content and bewildering to some students, as evident in Eva Bonnell’s Chemistry of Food notes, in which she recorded her confusion: ‚Difference in time & temp of process has little effect on __?__ Don’t understand this. Don’t think P.H. *Professor Harcourt+ did either.‛62
Women who were novices in this area of study likely found the chemical and physiological aspects of the food curriculum to be challenging enough, but Urie-Watson wanted the institutional housekeeping students to study the economic implications of food as well. In 1905, she wrote the OAC faculty to request a series of lectures with the intent of informing the women of ‚those points which are to be kept in mind by well equipped housekeepers when purchasing food stuffs.‛63 She earned the cooperation of the OAC, and suggested that the lectures focus on the following topics:
Why this food is cheap or costly — abundance, scarcity, perishability, or cost of transportation. How it is put on the market. How the quality may be judged when in season and out of season. When it is liable to adulteration, and how to judge its purity, and also what Canadian laws exist governing its production, sale and inspection.64
The expansion of the food curriculum to include consideration of economics recognized that institutional housekeepers were becoming increasingly influential in the market place — responsible for purchasing, as well as processing and serving, foods. The institute took steps to equip its graduates for this function.
No formal examinations were given to the housekeeping students prior to graduation; rather, at the end of their senior year, the women apprenticed for six months. They were observed in their practicum by employers or, if they remained at the institute, by faculty, and earned professional certification if they performed consistently well during that period. The introduction of the six-month practicum following coursework emerged at the request of four students who, after completing their coursework in 1905, felt under prepared and wanted further experience in an institutional setting. Urie-Watson obliged their request by arranging for a series of special lectures on institutional housekeeping provided by Miss Kennedy, the housekeeper for Macdonald Hall, and ‚she gave them every opportunity to investigate the working of Macdonald Hall, and as much special practice as possible.‛65 In 1905, though the lecture series was not completed, the women received some measure of additional practical training in marketing, stocking, and service. Urie-Watson concluded, ‚The experience proved to be so valuable that we hope it may become a permanent feature of the course.‛66 The experiment ultimately paved the way for a greater focus on developing applied curriculum specific to the unique nature of professional institutional housekeeping.
In the spring and summer of 1906, Urie-Watson visited asylums in Toronto, London, Hamilton, and Kingston. She also visited New York State hospitals in Ogdensburg, Ward’s Island, New York, Birmingham, and Buffalo; as well as Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Butler Hospital in Providence, and Simmons College in Boston. Urie-Watson found ‚the visits were illuminating and highly instructive. They were of value to the Macdonald Institute work because of the information gained about the equipment and the conditions which must be faced by institution housekeepers.‛67 Her own experience reinforced the value of exposure to authentic institutional models in developing professional standards of practice, and in 1906 a six-month practicum in an institutional setting became a fixture of the curriculum, resulting in field experience opportunities for the women enrolled in the senior year of the program. In 1908, a group of senior housekeeping students spent two days in Toronto ‚studying the methods and equipment of certain large laundry and restaurant plants. They considered the time well spent if only for the lesson of economy through efficient management and well-placed machinery.‛68 Similar excursions and field trips were repeated subsequently and afforded the women in the program opportunities to gain greater familiarity with institutional equipment and structures and to begin to apply the scientific efficiency principles emerging from the factory movement into homes and institutions.69
Beyond the coursework and the practicum, graduates of the professional housekeeping program who requested additional support and advice received the willing counsel of Urie-Watson. Urie-Watson, as she told her students, was ‚particularly anxious to keep my girls in sight and to keep track of their rise and progress,‛70 as their rise and progress was inextricably linked to that of the institute. Urie-Watson was willing to edit applications, and advised a graduate on her dress and comportment prior to an interview for a professional position with a milling company. She counselled her graduate ‚to dress in the quietest manner possible, and impress him with your staidness,‛71 in the interest of conveying a level of maturity and professionalism. The earliest graduates of the program who took up professional positions faced the challenge of establishing the resources, structures, and work environment conducive to the application of the standards acquired through their training at the institute. Ethel Dunbrack, who graduated from the first class of housekeepers, took this responsibility seriously enough to leave a paid position as a housekeeper in a hotel because the owner would not allow her to equip the kitchen, and ‚was not inclined to make proper provision for the feeding of guests.‛72 Indicative of the level of her allegiance to the objectives of the program at the institute, Dunbrack ‚concluded that I could not afford to have the public get the impression that I could do no better.‛73 She understood, as did many of her classmates, that her reputation, the reputation of the institute, and the reputation of her chosen profession had become inextricably intertwined and mutually defining.
The domestic science teacher education and professional housekeeping programs established at the Macdonald Institute, under Urie-Watson, responded to perceived threats to the welfare of Canadians, and the traditions of Canadian home-life — particularly rural home-life — by devising educational pathways that would prepare women to employ cutting-edge practices to stave off radical declines in quality of life. These professional programs taught specialized knowledge, defined values, and inculcated uniform ways of performing tasks; they were meant to represent the highest possible standards of professional practice and serve as the basis of exclusion of others from pursuit of careers in the professions. The curriculum stretched the women intellectually and socially, and readied them to contribute actively to social reforms as teachers and institutional housekeepers. Over the first two decades of the institute’s existence, professional program students, alongside the faculty, administrators, and employers established specialized areas of study and standards of performance for individuals certified as domestic science teachers and professional housekeepers. The Macdonald Institute, its graduates, and the professions all gained legitimacy and authority through defining the boundaries of knowledge and standards of practice in domestic science teaching and institutional housekeeping.
1 Sarah Stage, ‚Home Economics: What’s in a Name?‛ in Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession, eds. Sarah Stage and Virginia Vincenti (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997),
2 An excellent overview of the development of higher education programs in domestic science can be found in the essays compiled in Sarah Stage and Virginia Vincenti, eds., Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997).
3 The founding of domestic science programs at these schools is considered in Edith Rowles, Home Economics in Canada: The Early History of Six College Programs: Prologue to Change (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Book Store, 1964). Rowles concentrates particularly on the founding of the first five institutions to offer domestic science programs in Canada: Victoria College, University of Toronto; Macdonald Institute, Ontario Agricultural College; Macdonald College, McGill University; School of Home Economics, Acadia University; Lillian Massey-Treble School of Home Economics, Mount Allison University; and her alma mater, the College of Home Economics, University of Saskatchewan.
4 For a thorough consideration of the professional programs in nutritional science and dietetics founded at the University of Toronto’s bachelor of household science degree program, see Ruby Heap, ‚From the Science of Housekeeping to the Science of Nutrition: Pioneers in Canadian Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Household Science, 1900-1950,‛ in Challenging Professions: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Women’s Professional Work, eds. Elizabeth Smyth, Sandra Acker, Paula Bourne, and Alison Prentice (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 141-70. The bachelor of household sciences program at the University of Toronto helped to both set professional standards in related fields and encouraged women to contribute to scholarly research and publication.
5 See Mary Wilson, ‚Higher Education for Rural Homemakers,‛ Curriculum History (2009):
6 Elizabeth Smyth et al., eds., Challenging Professions: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Women’s Professional Work (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 5.
7 A small number of women took interest classes at the OAC prior to the opening of the Macdonald Institute. For example, Elizabeth Mary Campbell took a short course in Home Dairying at the OAC in 1895. Ontario Agricultural College, ‚Certificate of Standing of E.M. Campbell in Dairy Course at O.A.C,‛ (1895), Students file, RE1 OAC A0145, Ontario Agricultural College Papers, University of Guelph Archival and Special Collections (UGA).
8 For a comprehensive history of education at the OAC, see Alexander Ross and Terry Crowley, The College on the Hill: A New History of the Ontario Agricultural College, 1874-1999(Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1999).
9 Terry Crowley, ‚Madonnas Before Magdalenes: Adelaide Hoodless and the Making of the Canadian Gibson Girl,‛ Canadian Historical Review 67, no. 4 (1986): 520.
10 Ibid., 522.
11 For an expanded consideration of the origin and prevalence of the essentialized notion that women were more naturally suited to teach and nurture the development of the young than men, see Alison Prentice and Marjorie Theobald, eds., Women who Taught: Perspectives on the History of Women and Teaching (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991); and Ruby Heap and Alison Prentice, eds., Gender and Education in Ontario: An Historical Reader (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1991).
12 The history of this relationship is considered in greater depth in Mary Wilson, “Cooking the Books: Curriculum and Subjectivity at the Macdonald Institute of Domestic Science, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 1903-1917” (EdD diss., University of Toronto, 2000), 113-65.
13 Martin Friedland, The University of Toronto: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 237. 14 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1912), 172. 15 Urie-Watson to Bessie Cleland, 3 March 1905, Director files, 1903-1920: Watson, RE1 MAC A0145, Macdonald Institute Papers, UGA.
16 Nancy Tomes, ‚Spreading Germ Theory: Sanitary Science and Home Economics, 1880-1930,‛ in Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession, ed. Sarah Stage and Virginia Vincenti (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), 36.
17 Mary Pierce to Urie-Watson, 2 November 21905, RE1 MAC A0145. 18 Urie-Watson to Isabel Pease, 2 August 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 19 ‚Student Demonstrations,‛ OAC Review, April 1913, 388. 20 Ibid.
21 Ibid. 22 Ibid.
23 Judith Butler, ‚Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,‛ Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (December 1988): 527.
24 Ruth Schwartz Cowan has given extensive consideration to the rising social currency of the discourses of technology in women’s higher education in the early twentieth-century. See Cowan, ‚Less Work for Mother?‛ American Heritage of Invention and Technology 2, no.3 (1987): 57-64; Cowan, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave (New York: Basic Books, 1983); Cowan, ‚The ‘Industrial Revolution’ in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century,‛ Technology and Culture 17, no.1 (January 1976): 1-23, repr. in Dynamos and Virgins Revisited: Women and Technological Change in History, ed. Martha Moore Trescott (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1979), 205-32. For works that consider the privileged status of scientific rhetoric in education and work for women in the early 1900s, see Cynthia Comacchio, Nations are Built of Babies: Saving Ontario’s Mothers and Children, 1900-1940 (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993); and Diana Pedersen, ‚‘The Scientific Training of Mothers’: The Campaign for Domestic Science in Ontario Schools, 1890–1913,‛ in Critical Issues in the History of Canadian Science, Technology and Medicine, eds. R. A. Jarrell and A. E. Roos (Ottawa: Thornhill, 1982), 178–94.
25 Works that consider the interrelated nature of individual student maturation, the growth of extracurricular life in Canadian universities, and the growing influence of campus youth culture on broader early twentieth-century social movements in Canada include Charles M. Levi, Comings and Goings: University Students in Canadian Society, 1854- 1973 (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003); A.B. McKillop, Matters of the Mind: The University in Ontario, 1971-1951 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994); and Paul Axelrod and John Reid, eds., Youth, University and Canadian Society: Essays in the Social History of Higher Education (Montréal and Kingston: McGill- Queen’s University Press, 1989). For works that consider the curricular and extra-curricular experiences of Canada’s first female university students, see Sara Burke, ‚‘Being Unlike Man’: Challenges to Co-Education at the University of Toronto, 1884-1909,‛ Ontario History 93, no. 1 (Spring 2001), 11-31; Burke, ‚New Women and Old Romans: Co- Education at the University of Toronto, 1884-95‛ The Canadian Historical Review 80, no. 2 (June 1999): 219-41; Jo LaPierre, ‚The Academic Life of Canadian Co-eds, 1880-1900,‛ in Gender and Education in Ontario: An Historical Reader, ed. Ruby Heap and Alison Prentice (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1991); Neil Guppy, Doug Balson, and Susan Vellutini, ‚Women and Higher Education in Canadian Society,‛ in Women and Education: A Canadian Perspective, 2nd ed., ed. J. Gaskell and A. McLaren (Calgary: Detselig Press, 1987), 171-92; Lynne Marks and Chad Gaffield, ‚Women Identity is often established through the development of a discourse of differentiation or othering; this discourse was repeatedly built through the establishment of a marked separation between the junior and senior class in both the normal school and the two-year professional housekeeping program.
26 Ontario Agricultural College, Student Newspapers, OAC Review, RE1 OAC A0123, UGA. 27 Untitled article, OAC Review, 1904, 61. 28 Ibid. 29 The ways in which students divided themselves into social groups defined by year level and stages of
development is similarly explored in E. Lisa Panayotidis and Paul Stortz, ‚Visual Interpretations, Cartoons, and Caricatures of Student and Youth Cultures in University Yearbooks, 1898-1930,‛ Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 19, no.1 (2008): 195-227.
30 ‚First Impressions of Mac Institute,‛ OAC Review, May 1916, 380. 31 ‚Macdonald,‛ OAC Review, 1904, 188. 32 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1905), 244.
33 Edwin Roghs to Urie-Watson, 20 November 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 34 C.K. Clarke to Charlotte Kent, 16 February 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 35 In comparison, at the turn of the twentieth century, domestic science teachers in Ontario public schools earned
an average annual wage of 500 dollars; domestic science demonstrators and lecturers for the Women’s Institutes or Young Women’s Christian Associations could expect to earn twenty-five dollars per month for up to 100 students; and at the Macdonald Institute, lecturers earned an initial salary of 800 dollars with the possibility of annual increases of 100 dollars up to a maximum of 1000 dollars.
35 Urie-Watson to Mamie Coppinger, 16 November 1904, RE1 MAC A0145; Edna Ferguson to Urie-Watson, 1 December 1905, RE1 MAC A0145; and Urie-Watson to Miss Pratt, 10 May 1905, RE1 MAC A0145.
36 Miss Greer to Urie-Watson, 28 April 1904, RE1 MAC A0145. 37 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1906), 215. 38 Charlotte Aikens to Urie-Watson, 3 February 1908, RE1 MAC A0145.
39 Ray Robson to Urie-Watson, 5 May 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 40 Urie-Watson to Jean Allen, 20 July 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 41 In 1910, Urie-Watson, Miss Tennant, and a small group of graduates attended the second annual Institution
Management Convention at Lake Placid. Urie-Watson cited the convention as ‚evidence of rapidly increasing interest in the question of special training for institution household administration.‛ Annual Report (1911), 253.
42 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1910), 258. 43 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1909), 233.
44 Isabel Warner to Urie-Watson, 28 September 28 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 45 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1912), 173-74. 46 Urie-Watson to Clara Ross, 28 April 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 47 Urie-Watson to Louise Burdett, 13 September 1905, RE1 MAC A0145.
48 Beattie, ‚Letters and Other Items related to Work as Dietician in Hospitals in London, Stratford, Toronto, Guelph, and Galt,‛ and Working For Skirts, Account of Experiences at Home, Blair, Ontario, at Macdonald Institute 1911-13, XR1 MS A004, Lillian A. Beattie Papers, UGA.
49 Urie-Watson to K.F. Sadlier, 25 August 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 50 Urie-Watson to Mrs. Spratt, 29 December 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 51 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1903), 149. 52 Beattie, ‚Account of Experiences at Macdonald Institute 1911-13,‛ 14, XR1 MS A004, Lillian A. Beattie Papers,
53 K.F. Sadlier to Urie-Watson, 8 September 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 54 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1903), 149. 55 Ibid. 56 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1905), 244.
58 Beattie, ‚Account of Experiences at Macdonald Institute 1911-13,‛ 16, XR1 MS A004, Lillian A. Beattie Papers, UGA.
59 Urie-Watson to Mrs. William Edmundson, 22 March 1905, RE1 MAC A0145.
60 Evelyn Bray to Urie-Watson, 19 April 1908, RE1 MAC A0145. 61 Urie-Watson to Evelyn Bray, 25 April 1908, RE1 MAC A0145. 62 Eva C. Bonnell, notebook in ‚Chemistry of Foods: Essay on Spring Vegetables, Senior Housekeeper Course,
1910,‛ Student files, 1910: Bonnell, RE1 MAC A0039, Macdonald Institute Papers, UGA. 63 Urie-Watson to Professor Dean, 13 April 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 64 Ibid.
65 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1905), 244. 66 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1907), 240-41. 67 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1906), 217. 68 Urie-Watson, Annual Report (1909), 235. 69 For an examination of the transfer of scientific management theory from the factory to the home, see Bettina Berch, ‚Scientific Management in the Home: The Empress’s New Clothes,‛ Journal of American Culture 3, no. 3 (2004): 440-45.
70 Urie-Watson to Miss Frankie Williamson, 23 November 1905, RE1 MAC A0145.
71 Urie-Watson to Miss McPhee, 4 November 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 72 Ethel Dunbrack to Urie-Watson, 5 August 1905, RE1 MAC A0145. 73 Ibid.
Merujuk pada redaksi UU RI No. 20 Tahun 2003 tentang Sisdiknas Bab VI bagian ke empat pasal 19 bahwasanya mahasiswa itu sebenarnya hanya sebutan akademis untuk siswa/ murid yang telah sampai pada jenjang pendidikan tertentu dalam masa pembelajarannya. Sedangkan secara harfiah, mahasiswa” terdiri dari dua kata, yaitu Maha yang berarti tinggi dan Siswa yang berarti subyek pembelajar sebagaimana pendapat Bobbi de porter, jadi kaidah etimologis menjelaskan pengertian mahasiswa sebagai pelajar yang tinggi atau seseorang yang belajar di perguruan tinggi/ universitas.
Namun jika kita memaknai mahasiswa sebagai subyek pembelajar saja, amatlah sempit sebab meski diikat oleh suatu definisi study, akan tetapi mengalami perluasan makna mengenai eksistensi dan peran yang dimainkan dirinya. Kemudian pada perkembangan selanjutnya, mahasiswa tidak lagi diartikan hanya sebatas subyek pembelajar (study), akan tetapi ikut mengisi definisi learning. Mahasiswa adalah seorang pembelajar yang tidak hanya duduk di bangku kuliah kemudian mendengarkan tausiyah dosen, lalu setelah itu pulang dan menghapal di rumah untuk menghadapi ujian tengah semester atau Ujian Akhir semester. Mahasiswa dituntut untuk menjadi seorang simbol pembaharu dan inisiator perjuangan yang respect dan tanggap terhadap isu-isu sosial serta permasalahan umat manusia.
Apabila kita melakukan kilas balik, melihat sejarah, peran mahasiswa acapkali mewarnai perjalanan bangsa Indonesia, mulai dari penjajahan hingga kini masa reformasi. mahasiswa bukan hanya menggendong tas yang berisi buku, tapi mahasiswa turut angkat senjata demi kedaulatan bangsa Indonesia. Dan telah menjadi rahasia umum, bahwasanya mahasiswa lah yang menjadi pelopor restrukturisasi tampuk kepemimpinan NKRI pada saat reformasi 1998. Peran yang diberikan mahasiswa begitu dahsyat, sehingga sendi-sendi bangsa yang telah rapuh, tidak lagi bisa ditutup-tutupi oleh rezim dengan status quonya, tetapi bisa dibongkar dan dihancurkan oleh Mahasiswa.
Mencermati alunan sejarah bangsa Indonesia, hingga kini tidak terlepas dari peran mahasiswa, oleh karena itu mahasiswa dapat dikategorikan sebagai Agent of social change ( Istilah August comte) yaitu perubah dan pelopor ke arah perbaikan suatu bangsa. Kendatipun demikian, paradigma semacam ini belumlah menjadi kesepakatan bersama antar mahasiswa (Plat form ), sebab masih ada sebagian madzhab mahasiswa yang apriori ( cuek ) terhadap eksistensi dirinya sebagai seorang mahasiswa, bahkan ia tak mau tahu menahu tentang keadaan sekitar lingkungan masyarakat ataupun sekitar lingkungan kampusnya sendiri. Yang terpenting buat mereka adalah duduk dibangku kuliah menjadi kambing conge dosen, lantas pulang duluan ke rumah.
Inikah mahasiswa ? Padahal, mahasiswa adalah sosok yang semestinya kritis, logis, berkemauan tinggi, respect dan tanggap terhadap permasalahan umat dan bangsa, mau bekerja keras, belajar terus menerus, mempunyai nyali (keberanian yang tinggi) untuk menyatakan kebenaran, aplikatif di lingkungan masyarakat serta spiritualis dan konsisten dalam mengaktualisasikan nilai-nilai ketauhidan kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa.
Dengan Konsep itulah, mahasiswa semestinya bergerak dan menyadari dirinya akan eksistensi ke-mahahasiswaan nya itu. Belajar tidaklah hanya sebatas mengejar gelar akademis atau nilai indeks prestasi ( IP ) yang tinggi dan mendapat penghargaan cumlaude, lebih dari itu mahasiswa harus bergerak bersama rakyat dan pemerintah untuk membangun bangsa, atau paling tidak dalam lingkup yang paling mikro, ada suatu kemauan untuk mengembangkan civitas/ perguruan tinggi dimana ia kuliah. Misalnya dengan ikut serta/ aktif di Organisasi Mahasiswa, baik itu Organisasi intra kampus ( BEM dan UKM ) ataupun Organisasi Ekstra kampus, serta aktif dalam kegiatan-kegiatan lain yang mengarah pada pembangunan bangsa.
Hak milik yang paling berharga bagi suatu perguruan tinggi adalah kebebasan, otonomi, dan budaya akademik (academic culture). Dalam hal ini, perguruan tinggi harus mempunyai karakteristik yang khas dan menjadi panutan pihak luar. Budaya akademik sebagai suatu subsistem perguruan tinggi memegang peranan penting dalam upaya membanggun dan mengembangkan kebudayaan dan peradaban masyarakat (civil society) dan bangsa secara keseluruhan. Indikator kualitas perguruaan tinggi sekarang dan terlebih lagi pada millenium ketiga ini akan ditentukan oleh kualitas civitas akademika dalam mengembangkan dan membanggun budaya akademik ini.
Budaya akademik sebenarnya adalah budaya universal. Artinya, dimiliki oleh setiap orang yang melibatkan dirinya dalam aktivitas akademik. Membanggun budaya akademik bukan perkara yang mudah. Diperlukan upaya sosialisasi terhadap kegiatan akademik, sehingga terjadi kebiasaan di kalangan akademisi untuk melakukan norma-norma kegiatan akademik tersebut.
Pemilikan budaya akademik ini seharusnya menjadi idola semua insan akademisi perguruaan tinggi, yakni dosen dan mahasiswa. Derajat akademik tertinggi bagi seorang dosen adalah dicapainya kemampuan akademik pada tingkat guru besar (profesor). Sedangkan bagi mahasiswa adalah apabila ia mampu mencapai prestasi akademik yang setinggi-tingginya.
Khusus bagi mahasiswa, faktor-faktor yang dapat menghasilkan prestasi akademik tersebut ialah terprogramnya kegiatan belajar, kiat untuk berburu referensi actual dan mutakhir, diskusi substansial akademik, dsb. Dengan melakukan aktivitas seperti itu diharapkan dapat dikembangkan budaya mutu (quality culture) yang secara bertahap dapat menjadi kebiasaan dalam perilaku tenaga akademik dan mahasiswa dalam proses pendidikan di perguruaan tinggi.
Oleh karena itu, tanpa melakukan kegiatan-kegiatan akademik, mustahil seorang akademisi akan memperoleh nilai-nilai normative akademik. Bias saja ia mampu berbicara tentang norma dan nilai-nilai akademik tersebut didepan forum namun tanpa proses belajar dan latihan, norma-norma tersebut tidak akan pernah terwujud dalam praktik kehidupan sehari-hari. Bahkan sebaliknya, ia tidak segan-segan melakukan pelanggaran dalam wilayah tertentu—baik disadari ataupun tidak.
Kiranya, dengan mudah disadari bahwa perguruan tinggi berperan dalam mewujudkan upaya dan pencapaian budaya akademik tersebut. Perguruan tinggi merupakan wadah pembinaan intelektualitas dan moralitas yang mendasari kemampuan penguasaan IPTEK dan budaya dalam pengertian luas disamping dirinya sendirilah yang berperan untuk perubahan tersebut.
Untuk merubah kesan tradisional dan sangat indoktrinasi di dalam pendiikan formal, maka tak jemu pakar pendidikan mendengungkan model pendiikan partisipatif. Model inilah yang menekankan guru sebagai fasilitator. Seluruh eserta didik menjadi subjek pengetahuan dan aktif meningkatkan keterampilan. Guru adalah murid dan murid adalah guru. Usaha ini ditujukan kepada seluruh institusi pendiikan agar sistem pendiikan menjadi lebih baik.
Namun tak dapat dipungkiri, dari sekian banyak pendidikan alternatif yang ditawarkan, pada umumnya belum memenuhikriteria ‘pembebasan’ terhadap permasalahan masyarakat. Walaupun sudah menggunakan model partisipatif, tidak sedikit yang mengolah pendidikan alternatif menjadi komoditas dagang. Mengutamakan modernisasi peralatan belajar, fasilitas baru, menggunakan prestasi sebagai proses persaingan peserta didik, dan pendidikan dianggap tidak memiliki pengaruh terhadap politik dan ekonomi masyarakat. Sedangkan pendekatannya masih sangat didominasi dengan aliran positivisme: yakni penggunaan pengetahuan untuk mengontrol, memprediksikan, memanipulasi, dan eksploitasi terhadap objeknya.
Implikasi dari metode pendekatan pendidikan positivisme adalah kesadaran magis dan naif. Kesadaran magis, yakni suatu keadaan masyarakat yang tidak mampu mengetahui kaitan antara satu faktor dengan faktor lainnya. Misalnya, masyarakat miskin tidak tahu kalau kemiskinan yang dimilikinya memiliki benang merah terhadap sistem politik dan budaya. Karena yang dipahami, kemiskinan yang didapatnya adalah suatu hal yang wajar dan merupakan ‘given’ (natural maupun supranatural). Dalam proses pembelajaran, murid secara dogmatik menerima kebenaran guru, tanpa memahami analisa dari tiap konsepsi atas kehidupan masyarakat.
Sedangkan kesadaran naif adalah implikasi dari pendidikan yang melihat akar permasalahan masyarakat dari ‘aspek manusia’. Dalam kesadaran ini ‘masalah etika, kreativitas, performance, need for achievement (N Ac)’ dianggap sebagai penentu perubahan sosial. Dalam menganalisis kenapa masyarakat miskin, karena disebabkan kesalahan mereka sendiri: yakni malas, tidak memiliki jiwa enterpreneur, bodoh dsb. Implikasi pendidikan ini mengarahkan manusia untuk beradaptasi dengan sistem yang sudah ada.
Untuk itu buku ini menawarkan tujuan dan filosofi pendidikan dari salah seorang pendidik dunia asal Brazil, Paulo Freire. Perspektif pendidikan aliran Freire adalah melakukan refleksi kritis terhadap sistem dan ideologi dominan yang tengah berlaku di masyarakat, serta menganalisis struktur dan sistem sosial, politik, ekonomi dan budaya serta melatih mengidentifikasi ‘ketidakadilan’. Kemudian merubah sistem tersebut untuk memikirkan sistem alternatif ke arah transformasi sosial menuju masyarakat yang adil.
Di sini, Mansour Fakih dkk. menuliskan penekanan proses dan teknis berdasarkan pengalaman mereka di lapangan. Membangun kesadaran kritis pendidikan partisipatif bukanlah hal yang mudah, dibutuhkan peran fasilitator yang harus bisa menciptakan dan menggunakan media sebagai alat komunikasi pembelajaran.
Sekali lagi,buku ini lebih banyak memuat teknis silabus, cerita maupun berita kontroversial, permainan, analisis politik dan budaya di kota maupun di desa, dan lain sebagainya. Teknis-teknis ini diselingi artikel-artikel yang memuat pemahaman pendidikan kritis sebagai alat transformasi sosial. Pendidikan diartikan”tanpa dinding”, artinya penempatan pendidikan tidak melulu di pendidikan formal (sekolah –red), tapi bisa digunakan oleh massa petani, nelayan, dan rakyat kecil untuk melakukan transformasi sosial.
Masalah SDM di Indonesia sangat kompleks. Hal ini dicirikan oleh beberapa indikator berikut:
Pertumbuhan angkatan kerja lebih besar ketimbang ketersediaan lapangan kerja.
Distribusi penduduk antardaerah tidak merata.
Ketidaksesuaian kompetensi SDM dengan pasar kerja.
Ketidakseimbangan kebutuhan pelayanan publik dengan jumlah petugas.
Distribusi informasi tentang pasar kerja yang lambat atau timpang.
Pengangguran dan kemiskinan yang menyebabkan pendidikan dan kesehatan rendah.
Studi Political and Economical Risk Consultancy (2001); derajad pendidikan di Indonesia di urutan ke-12 dari 12 negara di Asia. Paling buncit. Malaysia, Singapura, Brunei, Thailand, dan Filipina, berada di atas Indonesia.Laporan UNDP, United Nations Development Programme, dalam “Human Development Report 2003″ tentang kualitas pembangunan manusia. Dari 174 negara, Indonesia berada pada peringkat ke-112. Sementara Singapura mencapai peringkat ke-28, Brunei Darussalam ke-31, Malaysia ke-58, Thailand ke-74, dan Filipina ke-85. Selain itu kemudahan untuk berusaha di Indonesia pada tahun 2005-2006 berada di peringkat ke-135 dari 175 negara (International Finance Corporation (IFC) dan Bank Dunia). Alasan sangat klasik terjadinya keterpurukan itu yaitu tidak efesiennya birokrasi.
Perizinan bisnis sudah berubah menjadi transaksi bisnis atau bisnis balas jasa.
Birokrat yang seharusnya melayani (aktif) publik berubah menjadi dilayani (pasif) publik..
Kalau tidak dilayani, proses perizinan bakal semakin panjang dan lama yang meningkatkan biaya ekonomi tinggi.
Kondisi itu menyebabkan derajad daya saing usaha Indonesia mencapai peringkat ke-60 dari 61 negara (survei International Institute for Management Development ;2006),. Ada tiga indikator besar penyebab daya saing rendah.
Pertama, faktor ekonomi makro, seperti ekspektasi resesi dan kondisi surplus atau defisitnya suatu negara yang masih memprihatinkan. Tingkat pertumbuhan ekonomi relatif masih lambat, tingkat penyerapan tenaga kerja masih rendah, investasi berjalan lambat dan kemiskinan masih tinggi.
Kedua, institusi publik dan kebijakan yang diambil dalam melayani kebutuhan masyarakat masih jauh dari optimum. Masyarakat masih dihadapkan pada kesulitan memperoleh pelayanan maksimum.
Ketiga, teknologi yang digunakan dalam proses produksi masih belum menghasilkan produk-produk yang mampu bersaing di pasar global.