Ki Hajar Dewantara was born in Yogyakarta, 2 May 1889. His name was Raden Mas Soewardi Soeryaningrat, where Raden Mas mean that he is coming from blue blood noble family of Yogyakarta Kraton, one of Indonesian monarchy system. He changed his name to Ki Hajar Dewantara when he was 40 years old in order to make himself easy to be close and access his peoples.
After finishing his ELS, Europeesche Lagere School, now we can call elementary school, he continued his education to STOVIA, The School tot Opleiding van Inlandsche Artsen, which actually is medicine school in Batavia, now Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Even though he couldn’t finish his STOVIA school due to his health issue. He starts his early life working as the journalist on various newspaper such as Sedyotomo, Midden Java, De Express, Oetoesan Hindia, Kaoem Moeda, TJahaja Timoer and Poesara.
He is a great journalist through this hard time during colonialism time. One of his famous article was released by De Express, with title “Als ik een Nederlander was”, translated to “If I were a Netherlander” in which he expresses his critics to Netherland government official as a result of Hindia Belanda government to collect money and another charity for Netherland independence day celebration on 1913. Because of his article, Governer General Idenburg punished him and exiled him. His colleagues, Douwes Dekker and Cipto Mangunkusomo also release the article in order to defend Ki Hajar Dewantara, which also make them exiled to Kupang and Banda Island respectively. They are three together are famous as Tiga Serangkai Group.
Through hard negotiations, they agree to exiled to Netherland so they can also learn many things, in which the Hindia Belanda government agree and send them, including Ki Hajar Dewantara to Netherland back in August 1913. During his life in Netherland, he learns a lot about the educational system until he received Europeesche Akte, one of prestigious educational degree, and decided back to Indonesia in 1918.
3 July 1922, he found Nationaal Onderwijs Instituut Taman Siswa (now called “Perguruan Taman Siswa”), an educational institution in which he builds the fundamental education system based on nationalism and independence. He still writes as a journalist for some newspaper even though his topic now changes from political into education, culture and nationality concept.
When Indonesia finally independence, he is appointed by Indonesian first president, Soekarno to be the first Education and Culture Minister of Indonesia. With his power as a minister, now he is working very hard to increase the quality of Indonesian educational system. 28 April 1959, Ki Hajar Dewantara passed away and his name is stated as the Father of Indonesian National Education, every year at 2 of May, the day when he was born, Indonesian celebrate this day as the day of national education.
His famous statement which inspires a lot of people in Indonesia are Tut Wuri Handayani (support from the back, Ing Madya Mangun Karsa (from the center to create chances and initiative), Ing Ngarsa Sungtulada (give example from the front). In order to memorize his service and values to Indonesian educational system, Perguruan Taman Siswa build the Museum of Dewantara Kirti Griya, located in Yogyakarta