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[West Java Tea History] Sekolah Rakjat - K.A.R. Bosscha

It was a sunny morning at Malabar Tea Plantion, Pangalengan. As usual, Mr. Bosscha went to his horse stable, took his white horse as his "vehicle" for daily field inspection routine at his Malabar Tea Plantation.

He inspected not only his tea plantation, but also his tea pickers. For your illustration, the tea pickers were mostly women and they brought their children with them to help them working. 

Later, when Mr Bosscha arrived at one of the Afdelings (sector in Malabar plantation), he greeted one of his tea pickers.

He said, "Why do you take your child to work?"

The tea picker answered, "Muhun Juragan, he helps me to pick tea leaves."

Muhun means "Yes" and Juragan means "Mr or Boss". Muhun Juragan is an old greeting from the workers to their boss in Sunda (West Java).

Then, Mr. Bosscha asked, "Why don't you send your child to school?"

"It is far away from here, Juragan."

Mr Bosscha then asked the question directly to the tea picker's child.

"Do you want to go to school?"

The tea picker's child said, "I really want to go to school, Juragan. But it is far away from here and my mom said she needs money to send me to school"

During that time, in late 1890, the nearest school was located 2 hours by foot from the tea plantation.

After Mr Bosscha knew the reason, he later went back home and started contemplating.

"Not only for my workers, I also have responsibility to ensure the education for their children."


In the next few weeks, in the middle of Malabar Tea Plantation he built the first elementary school in Pangalengan. The tea pickers called the school "Sekolah Rakjat", which means school for the community.