11 July 2010

Building the Education Revolution Indonesian Style...

Education is the key to the future. This is a universal truth. However, you would be forgiven for thinking that most governments and people do not take the future seriously considering how little attention is paid to education or how little respect is given to teachers who are responsible for educating that future. Yet, it is governments and others that are quick out of the blocks to blame teachers and schools for perceived failures in educating that future based on arbitrary test scores and the like (the subject matter for another post perhaps).

Nevertheless, this post is about the educational policies of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) government that sees it set to allocate some IDR 9.3 trillion to a program that is expected to repair and renovate some 132,000 classrooms at the elementary school level and build new classrooms in more remote areas of the archipelago. What is amazing is that this is the allocation for 2010-2011 and is the best part of the IDR 14 trillion that is supposedly set aside for the renovating and building program.

According to the Department of Education, the building component of the program is focusing on kindergarten facilities that are to be integrated into elementary schools and the building of new junior high schools so that Indonesian children have access to educational facilities that are no more that 2 kilometres from their homes. The idea of no student having to travel more than two kilometres to school is an admirable one, but one fraught with difficulties considering the reality of remoteness that many students will find themselves in outside of the more densely populated islands of Java and Sumatra.

The budget allocation and the plan is a good one. Perhaps once the renovating and building program is complete, the government can then direct some much-needed policy attention to ensuring that there are sufficient teachers available to staff the schools that exist. Then perhaps a little bit of time can be devoted to professional development of teachers to ensure that teachers are always at the cutting edge of teaching pedagogies and technology. After all, it is these teachers who we are tasking with the shaping of our collective futures. Finally, perhaps the government can spend a little (no pun intended) on teacher salaries. Not just thinking about salaries, but actually doing something to see those salaries increase and reflect the level of trust that we as a community put in teachers to educate our children.

Hopefully, governments and the powers that be around the world can dedicate their collective energies to making 2011 the start of a global educational revolution, one aimed at building our future together.


Anonymous said...

I hope this time they'd go to the right direction, and the money earmarked for that won't go disappearing into someone's pocket.

It's a shame with the level of education in Indonesia. There are so many talented children (since we have 250 million people, there are bound to be hundreds of talented people at least!) but the education can only be afforded by the riches (or at least middle up class)

It still shocks me here that when education is free - and you even get paid to study, noone really takes it.

Rob Baiton said...

@ This Indonesian...

Well, one can always hope. My guess is that there will still be substantial facilitation fees applied in order to get even the most minimal of work done in this program. However, I still have hope. People without hope have nothing to strive for in making this world a better place.

So, as the eternal optimist, there is always hope!

Yes, with some 250 million souls in Indonesia there must be significant numbers of very gifted people looking for a chance to shine. But, then again, there are plenty of these individuals who have already been identified and catered for. Indonesia always seems to do pretty well in science Olympiads and the like. There is plenty to be proud of on that front.

It does not shock me. It is the old adage: you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink.

Anes said...

I strongly agree that education should be kept, including the welfare of teachers.
But apparently there are no empty side note, that oversight. With a high budget, deviations can occur everywhere. The figures can be transformed and manipulated reports.
School can become the kingdoms of education by the parents always gave tribute.
Oversight has become ingrained lie.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Anes...

Thanks for commenting.

Oversight is important, but it is not the "be all to end all". Even with oversight, people dedicated to subverting the system can do so, although it is more difficult.

But when it is all said and done, education is about shaping the future. So, one would expect that politicians would take the whole thing a little more seriously.