They are no longer young. Enthusiasm is, however, still visible on the faces of these senior men. They are Sugeng Karseno, B.Sc.(76) and his four companions, dr. Muh Djoedi, Ir. Sugondo Mulyobongsoyudo, Drs. Sutjipto, Sihono, S.H, and Drs. Wazir Noeri.
Thursday night (15/12), those five men received Outstanding Alumni Award (Insan Berprestasi Award) for their contribution in advancing education by becoming teachers in the Mobilization of Students (PTM) in the 50s. They received the Award along with 8 other alumni and 46 members of academic community of UGM who also made achievements in a number of areas.
Sugeng said that he joined the PTM program from 1961 to 1963 in the 11th batch. A student of Civil Engineering Department class of 1954, at the time he was assigned to teach high school children in Palopo, South Sulawesi. "At that time, they lacked of teachers. I was very concerned with that," he recalled the situation.
PTM is a program initiated by the former UGM Rector, the late Prof. Koesnadi Hardjasoemantri. It had run for 11 years from 1951-1962. The program was implemented to meet the needs of teachers at that time. After the transfer of sovereignty by the Dutch Government, the number of teachers in Indonesia was very limited, especially outside Java. "PTM was initiated by Mr. Koesnadi who was Chairman of UGM Student Council. He dreamed of how to run the high school level education outside Java. For this reason, UGM began to send students to teach and establish high schools in some areas outside Java. PTM program began by the sending of 8 students from a number of Faculties, one of whom was Mr. Koesnadi himself," he said.
A number of unique and touching stories had been experienced by Sugeng during the struggle to advance education in the region. The existence of PTM was highly valued by local people, especially students. "Our presence was appreciated by the students. It created an impression that is so valuable," he explained compassionately.
However, it was not only that. Tensed situation was also experienced by Sugeng. While teaching in Palopo, the region was in conflict involving Toraja and Bugis tribes. "It was during the DI-TII conflict. I was worried there. So, at night I slept under the bed just to be safe," the man who once served as the Head of Faculty of Engineering Office said.
For Sugeng, becoming PTM participant was quite encouraging because it helped promote education in the outer islands. As a form of appreciation, the government inaugurated the PTM participants as Civil Servants. At that time, Sugeng was listed as group II /b employee with a salary of 675 rupiah. However, he had not been able to use the result of this work every month. "At that time, I was paid some 675 rupiah, but the salary was given every 6 months because of the dificult transportation," the father of 6 children and 10 grandchildren recalled.
Talking about education today, Sugeng shared his opinion. According to Sugeng, education is still not in equal distribution up to now, especially in the borders and remote areas. "I hope education gets more attention. In border areas, education is still not guaranteed. Therefore, we are ready and willing to do another PTM program," he said with great enthusiasm.
Almost similar story was also delivered by dr. Muh Djoedi (79), who participated in PTM between 1962-1965. He was assigned to be a lecturer in Jambi Province, precisely at the foot of Mount Kerinci. In the region, the number of teachers was very few. In fact, many high schools did not have teachers. "The teachers were graduates of ST there, graduates of elementary school who continued study for 2 years more. You can imagine what kind of condition was there," the retired lecturer of Faculty of Medicine UGM said.
Sugeng also expressed willingness to join PTM again to help advance education in remote and rural areas. Although their body is not as strong, their desire to advance education in Indonesia is still huge. It is great!