This research explains the 'indigenisation' of colonial education in the Dutch East-Indies in the twentieth century. Starting from a very Dutch centered education policy in the first two decades of the twentieth century, both the native society and the colonial administration pressed for an education policy that was more focussed on the indigenous culture of the Indonesian archipelago. When noticing the liberal values of the 'new' or modern imperialism originating in the late nineteenth century and most known by the Kipling's 'a white man's burden', this 'indigenisation' of colonial education is both strange and logical. The native population had to be lifted upwards to a higher civilization, under guidance of the Dutch colonizer. But did a modern native civilization looked like an European one? Or was an indigenous path towards a higher civilization possible as well? The tensions within these questions turn out to be a red line throughout the education policy of the Dutch colonizer.
Extra attention goes to the history lesson in the colonial classroom, wherein history is one of the most political sensitive courses of a school curriculum. Functioning as a case study, the history lesson in colonial Indonesia turns out to be of value for our greater understanding of the cultural politics of the Dutch colonizer.
This research combines an analysis of official documents and critical essay's (written during the late-colonial period), with the analysis of historical handbooks used in the classroom.