Quo vadis, Indonesian education system

(illustration: IO/Rudraksha)

IO, Jakarta – Education is the key to create quality human skills and competitiveness. Unfortunately, the world of education in Indonesia in recent years has experienced various setbacks. Data released by the Indonesian Education Monitoring Network (JPPI) in 2017 shows the quality of education in Indonesia is still below Ehtiopia and the Philippines.

Not only that, based on data from the Global Human Capital Report 2017 published by World Economic Forum (WEF), Indonesia’s ranking in education is ranked 53rd in the world, far behind Vietnam which ranks 8th in the world.

Finland is known for being world number one in Education. The country is successful in building its education system. The country scored 70% compared to the world average quality standard of only 21%. Finland provides free education for its citizens, even up to graduate level. Almost all schools in Finland are schools that are financed from taxes and have public school status. This makes no significant difference between schools, both in terms of facilities and quality. Whereas the education budget is less than 20 percent of the state budget.

Indonesia’s education is left behind compared to other countries, this becomes a special concern for Unifah Rosidi, Chairman of Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI). She said the Indonesian education system was well prepared. Unfortunately, there are inconsistencies between systems and implementation practices. “The system is good, but there are problems of policy, regulation and implementation,” said Unifah.

Meanwhile, according to Darmaningtyas, Educational observer, that Indonesian education is lagging behind, because our education policy towards political dimension is more prominent than the education dimension itself. “Within the transition period, particularly post-reformation, the post for Minister of Education is somehow claimed by Muhamadiyah. So if policy management is based on this tradition than there will be no improvement.

Other facts revealed by Darmaningtyas, generally countries that teach religious education in schools are not progressing. Two examples of countries namely Indonesia and the Philippines. “In ASEAN countries only Indonesia and the Philippines are implementing religious education. Even Indonesia in the 2013 curriculum adds religious teaching hours. Elementary school (SD) is 2 to 4 hours of lessons. Junior high (SMP), Senior high (SMA), Vocational school (SMK), is from 2 hours to 3 hours. That is not to mention other religious activities. In other countries there is no religious education, instead they teach logic, ethics, literature, art, mathematics. So it’s natural that they progress. Seeing this, I think it’s better not to compare. Because we have our own choice of education itself, “he explained.

Various challenges
Another view was delivered by Sutan Adil Hendra, Chairman of Commission X of the House of Representatives, he highlighted the target of the national education budget is not focused. Regulation support for 20 percent of the national education budget is actually something that is rather vague. This can be seen in the educational budget posture in APBN 2018 has been allocated amounting to Rp 444.131 trillion. The budget through central government expenditure amounting to Rp 149.680 trillion spread across 20 ministries / institutions (K / L) is Rp145.957 trillion. While the remaining Rp3, 72 trillion is entered in various institutions and commissions.

Of the 20 ministries and institutions performing the educational function, the Ministry of Religious Affairs received the largest allocation of Rp 52.681 trillion, followed by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (Kemenristekdikti) of Rp 41.284 trillion (Education Function Budget of 40.393 T and Budget Function Ristek of 890 M), and the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemdikbud) alone only gets a budget of Rp 40.092 trillion.

The proportion of education budget allocated for primary and secondary education tends to decrease and stagnate, seen from the budget posture of the last 3 years the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud) continues to decline from budget period 2015-2016 amounting to Rp 49.23 T, in the period 2016-2017 decreased to Rp 39.82 T, and now 2017-2018 has increased to 40.092 T but not as big as the period 2015-2016. The rest is spread across 17 ministries and institutions from the smallest of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kemenkominfo) Rp 51,614 billion, National Nuclear Energy Agency (BTNN) Rp 52,800 billion, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLH) Rp 99.2297 billion, Ministry of ESDM Rp 109.756 billion, The Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs Rp 115 billion, Ministry of Defense Rp 173,400 billion, and the Ministry of Village,Development of Disadvantage Regions and Transmigration (PDT) Rp 178,500 billion.

“The vagueness of the allocation of this education budget creates various disparities such as the gap between quality of education that is not in line with the funds allocated by the government,” said Sutan.

Although the funds raised by the government are quite large, it does not have a significant impact on the quality of education in Indonesia. This is because 50% of the education budget is used to pay teachers and lecturers salaries. “If the cumulative, if we count with the first, the budget is actually down. Before 2007, 20% did not include salary. So teachers and lecturers’ salaries are included in the Routine Post. But since the 2007 Mahkamah Constitution’s (Constitutional Court) decision, that 20% budget includes salary, “said Darmaningtyas.

In addition to budgetary issues, education also talks about facilities and infrastructure. Inadequate school buildings are one of the causes of the low quality of Indonesian education. Unfortunately, this has not been the focus of the government other than improving the curriculum and certification of teachers.

Sutan explained that the condition of infrastructure facilities at elementary and secondary education level shows a worrisome condition. From 1,833,323 classrooms only about 25 percent or as many as 466,180 are in good condition, while 75 percent or 1,367,143 school spaces are in damaged condition.

Therefore, Sutan suggested that the government needs to formulate policies to overcome the problems of infrastructure facilities, mainly on learning media, laboratory equipment, ICT, lack of RKB, places of worship, textbooks for underprivileged students, and easier access to schools.

Not only do the facilities and infrastructure need attention, Unifah also highlights the lack of teachers at all levels of education. “These 10 years there has been no recruitment of teachers. We play around with the data. Always assuming that the number of teachers are less. Currently private honorary teachers are more in numbers than civil servant teachers. And now many teachers (civil servant) are entering retirement, “said Unifah.

There are currently 55 million students, the required teacher needs of 3 million. The current number of civil servant teachers is 1,483,265. Then there are 814,677 honorary teachers. While private teachers number as many as 719,354. “ 60% of that total has been certified.“ said Unifah.

These teachers are asked to improve their skills, unfortunately training must be self-financed. “Whereas Malaysia makes the rules of training 60 -100 hours per individual person. They also provide funds. Well, we have no training rules at all. Since there is no teacher mapping, it also analyzes teacher needs. Nobody wants to take responsibility. The sad fact is that honorary teachers are only paid Rp 108 thousand per 3 months, ” he said.

In 2016, Indonesia still lacks 282,224 teachers of civil servant class . Whereas in the year 2017 the shortage of teachers reached 988,133. “The study conducted in the last 18 months found that the needs of new class teachers in elementary, junior high / vocational schools will increase over time, such as teachers who retire, the fewer new teachers going into the system, and the number of students in schools is increasing,” explained Sutan.

Another problem about education seen by Sutan is the drop out rate from junior high school to senior high school has increased. This is triggered by the rise of illegal levies in MA / SMK / SMA level. Many districts have previously exhausted high school / vocational high schools, but now they are restless because many provinces allow schools to charge tuition fees to cover the budget shortage for education.

Sutan continued, going to school for the marginal is still a dream. This is particularly experienced by the poor and children with special needs. The dropout rate is dominated by both groups. BOS, BSM, and KIP programs need to be evaluated because in reality there are still many poor children who find it difficult to attend school. Slow distribution, inaccurate allocations, and misappropriation of funds remain a part of the implementation of the program.

While Darmaningtyas sees Indonesia too broad a spectrum, so in curriculum development, it should not be uniform but diverse. “The curriculum should be created per category. For example, isolated areas and coastal areas develop their own curriculum, the agricultural area is also so. The national curriculum focuses on mathematics, science, Indonesian, English, PPKN, history can be national history and local history, “he explained.

He thinks one of the key factors to our Education failure is due to the perspectives of Java and Jakarta which never change. For example, computer based exam policy even though there are 13 thousand villages that have no electricity installed. “The policymakers don’t consider that” he said.

In order for our education to go forward, Darmaningtyas offers to address the quality gap between Java and outside Java. “One of them is infrastructure. Infrastructure is concerned with transportation, electricity and communications. These three are necessities. President Jokowi in his leadership should be able to solve these three problems. If this is settled, the gap can reduce, “he explained.

Unifah said Education will progress if priority and consistent programs are implemented. “Do not feel this education belongs to the ministry alone. Then the teacher becomes the main asset because there is research saying, no quality of education exceeds the quality of the teacher. Because the curriculum will be driven by the teacher. Students will meet teachers. Therefore, teachers must be of the highest calibre” said Unifah.

While Sutan criticized the Government of President Jokowi in dealing with various problems of Education. According to him, the liberalisation of education to market mechanisms that resulted in the education sector being controlled by the capitalist and thus open to brainwashing in order to adapt neoliberal thinking. Now education becomes a business event to make a profit only. The government does not intervene in order to control the business of education so as to create justice for all people to gain equal rights in achieving a decent and quality education. And, the cost of education is increasingly expensive ranging from early childhood education, Elementary School to University. There is a very high level of educational inflation and is not affordable by the lower layers of society.

With the variety of educational issues we face, it takes strong political will from the Government. Will the tangled threads of education be left unchecked? Or is the Government able to make a breakthrough, so that Education can grow and advance parallel to the nations of the world. We must do it now, for the future of the nation’s children.

(Dessy Aipipidely)

x (x)