Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia

Nationalism has long been growing within Indonesian teachers. Fighting organization of indigenous teachers was founded in 1912 during Dutch colonization under the name Persatuan Guru Hindia Belanda (PGHB). This organization is unitarist whose members were auxiliary teachers, schoolmen, principals, and school owners. They came from different educational background who generally worked in Sekolah Desa (Lit. Village Schools) and Sekolah Rakyat Angka Dua (Lit. Folk Schools Number Two).

It was not easy for PGHB to fight for the welfare of its members who had different ranks, social levels and educational background. Closed related to this condition, there were also some other teachers’ organizations; Persatuan Guru Bantu (PGB)-Lit. Auxiliary Teachers Union, Perserikatan Guru Desa (PGD)-Lit. Association of Village School Teachers, Persatuan Guru Ambactsschool (PGAS)-Lit. Ambactsschool Teachers Union, Persatuan Normaalschool (PNS)-Lit. Normaalschool Union, Hogere Kweekschool Bond (HKSB). There were also several other teachers’ organizations which were based on religion; Christelijke Onderwijs Vereneging (COV), Katolieke Onderwijsbond (KOB), Vereneging Van Muloleerkrachten (VVM), and Nederlands Indische Onderwijs Genootschap (NIOG) whose members were all teachers from all religions.

This nationalism, which had been long growing, encouraged the indigenous teachers to fight for their similar right and position to the Dutch. One of the achievements from this fight was the Chief of HIS, which previously used to be Dutch people, now was Indonesian. Progressively, one after another position was transferred from Dutch to Indonesian. This nationalism spirit kept blazing and soaring as they had the dream of independence.

The fight of the teachers was not only about welfare and equal right anymore, but it was also about national fight to gain ‘freedom’. In 1932, the name of Persatuan Guru Hindia Belanda (PGHB) was changed to Persatuan Guru Indonesia (PGI)-Lit. Indonesian Teachers Union. This change astonished the Dutch government as the word “Indonesia” reflected nationalism spirit which the Dutch disliked. On the other hand, the teachers and the Indonesians really yearned to this word, “Indonesia”. The zeal of August 17th, 1945 proclamation embodied the Kongres Guru Indonesia (Indonesian Teachers Congress) on November 24th-25th, 1945 in Surakarta.

By this Congress, all kinds of teachers’ organizations and groups which were based on different graduations, workplaces, regions, politics, religions and tribes agreed to remove all the differences. They were active teaching teachers, retired teachers who were active in the fight for freedom, Republic of Indonesia educational officials which was just founded. They were unified to form Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia (Lit. the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia). It was in this congress, on November 25th, 1945—one hundred days after the independence proclamation of Republic of Indonesia—Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI)—Teachers Association of the Republic of Indonesia—was founded. With the spirit of the pounding roar of ‘freedom’ and among the smell of gunpowder from the bombing by English troops on RRI Surakarta radio station, together they were unified to fill the independence with three missions:

  • To preserve and to perfect the Republic of Indonesia.
  • To heighten the educational level and teaching based on democratic principles.
  • To defend the rights and the welfare of the labors in general and of the teachers in particular.

Since this Indonesian Teachers Congress, all Indonesian teachers declared themselves to be unified under Teachers Association of the Republic of Indonesia (PGRI). Dedication vigor, fighting determination, and unity zeal have been entitled to PGRI historically. These spirits have been fostered in preserving and filling the independence of Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia. In different kind and dynamic politics, Teachers Association of the Republic of Indonesia (PGRI) has been loyal to its dedication as fighting organization, professional organization, and manpower organization, which is unitartist and independent. Therefore, to honor the teachers, Indonesian government by Keputusan Presiden (Presidential Decree) No. 78, 1994 set PGRI anniversary, 25 November, as a National Teacher Day and it is celebrated each year.

PGRI in action