UIII-Deakin Joint Lecture Addresses Issues on ‘Education and Society’

January 06, 2024

Contributor: Erickson Samson | Editor: Supriyono

UIII.AC.ID, DEPOK - The 4th joint lecture between Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) and Deakin University, Australia was held on December 18, 2023, delving into the intricating topic of "Education and Society" featuring two prominent scholars namely Deakin’s Associate Professor Bonnie Yim and UIII’s Professor Nina Nurmila.

Being the first to speak, Associate Professor Bonnie Yim took the forefront with her presentation on "Babies and Bosses: A Case Study of Education-Industry Partnership" focusing on the collaboration of early childhood educational institutions with industries in Hongkong, allowing sustainable work-family balance and enhancing early childhood education standards.

Part of her major research project, Assoc. Prof. Yim’s presentation highlighted the workforce's significant challenge in balancing child-caring responsibilities with professional commitments. The research emphasized the role of strengthening cooperation between schools and the workforce that can create a supportive environment for the holistic development of children with working parents.

Taking the study in cases where early childhood institutions are located near business centers, the research emphasized the need to support working parents with the chance to remain involved in their children’s care and development.

“I’m very impressed with the involvement of fathers. They happily bring their children back to the center even if this may mess up their suits and ties [….] Parents sometimes visit the center during office hours, particularly when their children need special support,” Assoc. Prof. Yim highlighted the findings.

As the title has suggested, the study highlighted the pivotality of the existence of early childhood education centers near or within the business centers, mediating the need of working parents to remain actively engaged with their children’s development without sacrificing their professional responsibilities.The lecture continued with Prof. Nina Nurmila’s presentation focusing on women’s leadership in Islamic higher educational institutions, which addressed barriers such as patriarchal attitudes, literal interpretation of the Qur'an, and meritocratic policies for women to be education leaders in the Indonesian context.

Drawing from Islamic teachings, Prof. Nurmila explained the reinterpretation of Qur'anic verse 4:34 with an equal gender perspective citing Nasaruddin Umar, the founder of the Indonesian interfaith organization “Masyarakat Dialog antar Umat Beragama”, which highlighted the distinction between gender and biological terms.

"The Qur'an uses dzakar for male and untsa for female in a biological context while employing rijal for masculine and nisa' for feminine in a gender context. Umar emphasized that Qur'anic verse 4:34 specifically employs rijal (masculine) rather than dzakar for male," Prof. Nurmila elaborated. 

Prof. Nurmila implied that anyone meeting the verse's two criteria—having superiority over their spouse and providing financial support to the family—can be a family leader, regardless of their gender. This interpretation aligns with the sentiment expressed in Qur'an 9:71, emphasizing the equality and collaboration between believing men and women in their roles and responsibilities.

Hence, arguing that the "contextual approach gives justice", Prof. Nurmila called for affirmative policies supporting women's leadership in higher education institutions. She proposed revising PMA 68/2015 to exempt women from specific requirements in rector selection, calling for affirmative policies to empower women to apply for leadership positions.

The joint lecture concluded with a resounding call to support the global trend of businesses fostering work-family balance and empowering women in leadership roles. This collaborative effort between UIII and Deakin University exemplifies a shared commitment to shaping the future of education and society, and women's leadership in higher education institutions.