Thursday, June 05, 2008

History of Stovia: Home to national change

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 05/30/2008 4:41 PM | City

It was in 1847 that a Dutch health officer in Batavia, W. Bosch, received reports of several deadly diseases in Banyumas, Central Java.

In response, the government came up with a plan to educate local indigenous youths to become health counselors or vaccinators.

The government decreed on Jan. 2, 1849, that 30 young Javanese be educated at the Weltevreden military hospital (now the Army Central Hospital Gatot Soebroto) as vaccinators.

The education was free and, soon after graduating, the vaccinators received 15 gulden a month as well as housing.

They were trained by Dutch health officers, with support from officers at the military hospital.

In 1856, the school started a three-year program for its students and started to enroll students from outside Java. The school was called the Sekolah Dokter Jawa, or Java Doctor School.

In 1898 Java Doctor School director H.F. Roll came up with the idea to upgrade the school to become the School tot Opleiding Van Inlandsche Artsen, or Stovia.

Roll's proposals were accepted and in 1899 the Dutch government started constructing a new building for Stovia on 15,742 square meters of land in gang Manjangan in Weltevreden area, now Senen.

But the construction was interrupted due to a lack of funds. It only continued after Roll collected 178,000 gulden from three businessmen in Batavia, P.W. Janssen, J. Nienhuys and H.C. van den Honert.

The building was finished in 1901 and was formally opened as Stovia on March 1, 1902.

Students accepted into Stovia were graduates of the Europese Legere School (ELS), the Dutch primary school, or its equivalent. They had to spend two to three years studying a preparation curriculum and then continued studying a college medical curriculum for another 5-6 years.

The students were obliged to live in the building's boarding house until they completed their studies.

It was in the anatomy classroom of Stovia on May 20, 1908, that nine medical students formed Boedi Oetomo, the first modern organization that led to the national movement against colonial rule.

Boedi Oetomo was established by class IV and V students, after a meeting led by Wahidin Soedirohoesoedo a year earlier. It is believed Wahidin was the instigator of Boedi Oetomo.

The building was not only where Boedi Oetomo was established, but where two other youth organizations formed, namely Tri Koro Darmo in March 7, 1915, which later became Jong Java and Jong Sumatranen Bond on Dec. 9, 1917.

The curriculum of Stovia improved during 1913-1914, with the duration of study extended to seven years. It then started to accept students of more diverse backgrounds.

From 1926 onwards, the Stovia building in Hospitalweg was used by the Algemeene Middlebare School (AMS) high school, the MULO, and the pharmacist assistant school.

During Japanese colonial rule in 1942-1945, the building was used to house prisoners of war from the Dutch battalion V, with most of its members from Ambon.

As many as 196 Ambonese households continued to occupy the building until March 1973, before the Jakarta governor Ali Sadikin relocated them to a new housing complex in Pedongkelan, Cengkareng.

The Jakarta administration began renovating the building in April 1973. On May 20, 1974 it was formally opened by President Soeharto as the National Awakening Building.

As the National Awakening Building, it became home to four museums: the National Awakening Museum, the Health Museum, the National Press Museum and the Women's Movement Museum.

On Sept. 27, 1982, the Jakarta government handed the building over to the central government. The building became the National Awakening Museum in February 1984.

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