Pesantren as the oldest educational institution in Indonesia has many contributed significantly to the people of Indonesia. There are so many national figures born from the womb of pesantren, for example, KH Ahmad Dahlan (Founder of the Islamic mass organization Muhammadiyah), KH Hasyim Asyari (Founder of the Islamic mass organization Nahdlatul Ulama), Prince Diponegoro and others.
Even the spirit of the struggle against the invaders is also from the pesantren. The students and Teacher (Kyai) joined together against the invaders, they were at the forefront.
Today’s trend is the parents send their children to pesantren-based institutions after they get various moral decadences in public schools. Starting from drugs, pornography, and sexual harassment occurred. Finally, Islamic awareness begin to grow from various levels of society, from the lower, middle, to the elite.
From the reality that exists, the world of pesantren also welcomes by modifying its institution. So that pesantrens appear with advantages and are specific in certain fields, there are Islamic boarding schools that excel in their language, in this case on Arabic and English, there are Islamic boarding schools that excel in agriculture, there are also Islamic boarding schools that excel in the IT field. These are more or less give a pattern and color to the life of the pesantren.
Islamic boarding schools are also famous for their independence, so when the world was shocked by the monetary crisis and so on, it turned out that pesantrens are able to survive.
The majority of Islamic boarding schools do not depend on government assistance for their operational costs, in the other words that they looking for their own operational funds.
The journey of the pesantren from time to time develops according to the circumstances and conditions surround it. Starting from an ALIM or Kyai who teaches his knowledge to the community, until the study is crowded, people who come not only from around the domicile of the Kyai, many people are from outside the city.
People who come from out of town certainly need lodging. Until the booths were made around the residence of the Kyai. This is where the history of the pesantren comes from. Over time, these booths were no longer adequate, so permanent dormitories were built.
So the someone who built the pesantren were the SANTRI. Therefore, no one should feel inferior or lack their confidence if who has a pesantren not ideal infrastructure yet . Because the construction of the pesantren proceeds gradually according to the requirement. This is the history of pesantren. Pesantren is not a hotel or inn, where the owner builds a building with facilities and infrastructure completly, then rents it out.
At the first, the pesantren had a classical or salafiyyah model, which in classical pesantren did not recognize the level of education, there was no time limit for education, and the teaching system was bandongan and sorogan.
In classical pesantren there is no public kitchen, so santri are independent in cooking because there is no cook. Kyai is the central teacher as well as the sole policy holder in the administration of pesantren affairs in general.
Then came the Islamic boarding school kholafiyyah or ashriyyah (modern), in modern pesantren there is a curriculum, there is a value for student achievement, classical, there is a time limit for education of policy makers not centralized in certain individuals, but is structured.
There is a Directory, there is a Council of Teachers, Santris, and so on, only the final decision remains in the hands of the Kyai as the control of the mission and vision of the pesantren. The curriculum is affiliated to DIKNAS (Ministry of National Education) there is affiliated to MORA (Ministry of Religion). There are also Islamic boarding schools that make their own curriculum.
There is also a pesantren that combines it, mixing of classic and modern. This means that there are pesantren that are not purely classical or modern too. However, it is very unfortunate if these changes shift very standard values, which if these do not exist or disappear, the characteristics of the pesantren will also be lost.
As we know, pesantren is an Islamic educational institution that produces scholars, the center for studying ulumuddin (tafaqquh fied din) is at least able to read Arabic and translate Arabic on writing.
However, it is very unfortunate that along the way there are some pesantren that are weak in this regard, because they are defeated in exact lessons, or other superior programs.
This needs to be criticized, because if there are alumni of Islamic boarding schools who can’t speak Arabic, can’t read Arabic, can’t translate Arabic script, their identity as a student is gone.
The author is concerned that Islamic boarding schools that also adopt the national curriculum will be less mature from both sides, which they are minus in ulumuddin, while in terms of exact lessons they are inferior with general high schools.
Indeed, there is a new phenomenon today about the hopes and goals of parents sending them to Islamic boarding schools, apart from being faqih in their religious affairs, they are also not inferior in their exact knowledge. This is a challenge for pesantren managers, how to make this idealism a reality.
And of course this is very difficult, how to arrange a proportional allocation of lesson hours, in which ulumuddin is mastered, can also be understood exactly.