SOKUN ASSALAM (Peace Cheque)
A Medium of Exchange
for the Area served by a
By: Ngatidjo, Puskopdit. Bekatigade
Translated By: Stephen DeMeulenaere, Asia Coordinator, Strohalm Foundation
The Muslim Boarding School is one alternative educational institution for school-aged Muslim children, where the school combines both regular school education with religious education. The goal of this educational institution is to prepare the young generation by increasing both their general knowledge, as well as religious knowledge in order to strengthen their sense of “akhlaq” or appropriate behaviour. A large part of the time is spent on learning Islamic religious knowledge, without neglecting general study activities found in regular public schools. Usually, Muslim Boarding Schools are called “madrasah”. For kindergarten level education, this is called “masadrah diniyah”, for primary or elementary level education this is called “madrasah ibtida’iyah”, for middle or junior high schools this is called “madrasah tsanawiyah”, and for high schools this is called “madrasah alliyah”.
The modern Muslim Boarding School called
“Assalam” or Peace, is one of the Boarding Schools founded by the
Majelis Pengajian Assalam or Peace Knowledge Group in the city of
Surakarta, also known as Solo, in central Java,
All students live in the Boarding School, meaning that all of their time is spent for study activities. From morning until mid-day the students study as in regular schools. After studying in school, they directly join religious study activities with a religious teacher. Aside from that, the students also make use of other activity facilities such as sports, scouting (similar to Boy Scouts), among other extracurricular activities. Within the Boarding School the students are encouraged to take the opportunity to study Arabic and English language. Educational activites in general are conducted six days per week, from Sunday to Thursday, with a day off on Friday. On Friday, at the end of the important Friday prayers until 5pm the students are free to spend time with each other and interact with the community outside of the Boarding School.
“Sokun Assalam” : The Peace Cheque
As explained above, the day to day life of the students takes place within the confines of the Boarding School and students are not allowed to leave until Friday. To meet their various school needs such as pens, pencils and books, and snacks of course, these can only be purchased within the School, at the canteen. Aside from that, in the attempt to build the character and good behaviour of the students, in 1985 an exchange system was introduced to the Boarding School. The exchange medium was given the name of “Sokun Assalam” or Peace Cheque, referring to the name of the school. A note was printed which was given values equal to the national currency. The Peace Cheque was printed in various amounts, including Rp. (Rupiah) 1,000, Rp. 500, Rp. 100, Rp. 50 and Rp. 25. On each note, the serial number, value, signature of the Head of the Boarding School and rubber stamp of the Islamic Knowledge Organization of Surakarta.
Example : SOKUN ASSALAM (Peace Cheque)
Circulated within the Peace Modern Muslim Boarding School from 1985-1993.
To receive and use the cheque, each student must exchange their national currency at the School cashier. Each transaction is recorded by the cashier. After that, the student can use the cheue to buy goods in the School Canteen. The Canteen keeps records of the purchases made by the cheque at the time of the transaction. If the students spend their cheque outside of the Boarding School, the receiver of the cheque can exchange it back for cash at the School cashier.
The activites of exchanging the cheque by the students is limited both in amount and time. The total amount of national currency (Rupiah) that could be exchanged is 5,000 Rupiah (about 60 US cents) and could be done only every 3 days. These limits were imposed with the meaning of educating the students on conserving their money.
Levels Contained in the Implementation of the Peace Cheque
From the perspective of the Boarding School, the introduction of the Peace Cheque means for each student who uses it:
1. The Peace Cheque can interact with all components of the Boarding School.
2. The training of students can be economized and not involve the waste of money.
3. Discplinary training of students through the use of money.
4. Increasing the identity of the Boarding School.
5. Providing mental training to students to be patient and tolerant to their other students.
6. Developing the character of solidarity among students.
In the printing, issuance and use of the Peace Check, the legality or receipt of permission from the government was not ascertained, with the reason that the Peace Cheque did not circulate outside of the Boarding School, and was only used for transactions within the school.
Restraints on the Use of the Cheque
The Boarding School limited the total money supply of the Peace Cheque to 5 million rupiah (600 US Dollars), with the calculation that at that time, there were 1,000 students who were only allowed to convert 5,000 Rupiah, and each student was not allowed to be holding more than 5,000 Rupiah. The information on the conversion and spending of the notes was maintained by the Cashier.
Terminating the Use of the Cheque
The use of the Peace Cheque was terminated in 1993, as it fell from use. At the time, there was only one person who felt the system was simple enough to manage. During that time, the number of students doubled to 2,000 students, which made the management of the Cheque much more difficult. Aside from that, a new policy was introduced regarding Canteen services, such as the Canteen was no longer being managed by the Boarding School, and was separated from school services. Thirdly, with the rapid inflation in the national currency during that time, the school would have had to print another batch of currency with larger denominations in order to continue the system.
1. The Peace Cheque as a voucher for national currency was effective for developing the process of interaction between the elements of the Boarding School.
2. The use of the Peace Cheque by the students had the result of developing good character through the behaviour of economizing and not wasting money.
3. The Peace Cheque System did not continue because the initiator had already passed away and did not sufficiently educate others on the advantages of using the system.