Have you ever heard the story of Ken Soetanto, an Indonesian professor with four doctoral degrees? Being discriminated by his environment, Soetanto proved that he can achieve a target that many people may think difficult. Currently, Soetanto holds four doctoral degrees in electronics (1985), medicare (1988), pharmacy (2000), and education (2003) from four different universities in Japan.
Soetanto was born in Surabaya, Indonesia. His parent was a electronic tools merchant. Unstable economic condition and racial sentiment hampered him from getting further education at University. Soetanto, being disappointed with the condition, moved to Japan, entered a university in Japan, and made a record – a non-Japanese scholar with four doctoral degrees.
Since then, Soetanto has made 29 patents in Japan and 2 patents in the United States. In Japanese tradition, Soetanto is the first non-Japanese who is responsible for being a head of the division in a Japanese University. For him, education is an ability to elaborate and maintain a spirit to struggle. Everyone has the right to study. The more important thing is everyone should have more motivation to maximize all potentials he/she has.
Soetanto found that 80% of his students have weak motivation to study and bad performance in classes. Many students thought studying at a university was a required process to get job, not a chance to develop them. Soetanto proves that building students enthusiasm will improve students’ performance and achievement inside and outside the class. Slow but sure, the rank of his university increased dramatically. Media called his way of teaching the Soetanto’s Effect.
His motto, “you can if you try”, influenced many of his students. He believed that any obstacles can be solved if you have spirit to change problems into golden chances. Soetanto successfully influenced many students to study and understood values laid down in their study. He always insisted on the relation of motivation and education. Students who are not motivated in their study often fail to win the competition. Educators should learn from him, be motivated again, and make winning-students.