If there’s someone asked me, ” Is there any school that everyone wants to go to? I’d say, “Yes, it is!”. And that ‘school’ is called “Qaryah Thayyibah“……
Unlike yesterday morning, I tried not to listen to terrorism-scented news, but alas! My dad was ironing his clothes near the TV set and took the liberty to hold the remote control. I couldn’t help hearing the names of the terrorism suspects.
Around 9.30 I had nothing particular to do and there was a sudden urge to watch TV. I saw a seemingly-not-really-fit teenage girl named Zulfa, swinging her closely-held saber confidently. It looked like she was practicing her wushu moves. She explained in detail how she just started to get lured by the graceful yet powerful moves of wushu. It’s definitely unusual for a Javanese moslem girl like Zulfa (she wears veil,too) to be attracted by this kind of sport. I know I’m stigmatizing now,but it’s inevitable,and I guess almost everybody on this planet thinks the same way,too. Wushu isn’t a Javanese, or at least an Indonesian sport. It’s not even widely played or showcased here. In Indonesia, wushu tournament or competition is hardly ever heard, advertised, or publicized.Wushu athletes are ordinarily Chinese (though some exceptional cases are found,but not much). Ok, onto the core of business, what Zulfa was actually elaborating was that she felt extremely lucky to find and have Qaryah Thayyibah as her ‘school’. She told her teacher at Qaryah Thayyibah how glad if she could’ve practice some wushu. Her teacher luckily recalled an acquaintance running a wushu training center. Without doubt, the teacher contacted and pleaded to the acquaintance so as to make Zulfa one of the students there. He managed to do that,and Zulfa ended up being a wushu female student. Six months passed, Zulfa made lots of progress and felt challenged by a wushu tournament, and this would be a nationwide scale. She resolved and went on, though she found the massive challenges ready to confront her. Zulfa-who had just practiced wushu for 6 months- had to compete against bunch of wushu athletes who had started practicing wushu for years. And just like a miraculous and victorious ending part of typical Hollywood movies, she surprisingly won the competition at her age category. But you may wonder, how could Zulfa opted for wushu to be her lesson to learn? The answer’s at Qaryah Thayyibah students may choose anything to learn and teachers are to accomodate the students’ interests. Forget the rigid curriculum made by the Indonesian national education ministry, forget other people’s interference about what lesson to learn. That’s how this ‘school’ is different.
Another prominent student is Mira (ooops, I forgot the name actually, but let’s take it for granted, Shakespeare says “what’s a name?”), who is a reckoned author already at her teenage years, having managed to published several books launched to the market. Marvelous! This young author admitted how frustrated she was at school, she found school’s curriculum very restrictive to her personal development. As she kept explaining, she took her curiosity of Chairil Anwar’s biography as her ‘tragic’ example. Having higher passion of learning literature, she reminisced asking the question “Can I read Chairil Anwar’s biography?” to her elementary school teacher. Like any other ordinary teachers, s/he quipped,”We’ll learn that later on, when you’re at higher grade”. And that sounded terribly absurd for our writing prodigy. Years later, she found herself gradually lazier than before to go to school. She thought there was nothing fun she could learn at school. And no one can blame her for having such stance.
I added the quotation marks between the word school as this Qaryah Thayyibah isn’t a school AT ALL, in our conventional perspective. Physically, you can’t find any sights you expect to see from a school building. You can’t either find the whole features a school should have there. No fence, no uniform, no fixed desks, no hard wooden brown chairs. The classrom can be anywhere, literally. They can be sitting under the huge, shadowy trees growing just before the simple building of the so-called school. They can do anything ranging from doing science experiments, making clay pots, or reciting lines of poems they love.
Even though Qaryah Thayyiban looks awkward compared to costly international or national standard schools but it has ‘it’, something that is really avant garde, authenthic in any way possible. But above all, what I really adore is its freedom to choose what to learn, and what to do with one’s interest, intelligence, and potential. There’s nothing in the Milky Way that can beat the enjoyment or pleasure of learning something useful with passion.
Like no other school, Qaryah Thayyiban is trying to liberate the souls of its students, and the most importantly do its best to accomodate the students’ highly diverse interests. And that’s what makes Qaryah Thayyiban worth appreciation.
If you’re having much leisure time, try to see what it’s like. Qaryah Thayyibah is located at Kalibening, Tingkir Lor, Salatiga.