Teachers are the key to improving the nation’s education
The proposed changes “won’t solve our problems,” Anies Baswedan, the initiator of a national education program Indonesia Mengajar, said at a panel discussion in Jakarta on Tuesday.
“Teachers are the key to improving the nation’s education. If we have more teachers, deploy them evenly to every region and raise their teaching ability and salaries. I believe this will cure all those problems.”
Anies said that he doubted that teachers had the capacity to adapt to the dramatically revised curriculum currently under consideration at the Education and Culture Ministry.
“The upcoming curriculum will require teachers to insert science and social studies subject into religion, civics and Indonesian-language classes. This will not be an easy job. They are not ready [to deliver] the existing curriculum, let alone the new one,” Anies, who is also the rector of Paramadina University, said.
Anies suggested that the ministry implement a “bottom-up” approach in revising the curriculum by assessing the learning process in schools and asking teachers for their opinions.
Although doubting that the ministry’s current plans were feasible, Anies said that Indonesia needed to revise the current curriculum, which he described as “urban-oriented”.
“Just take a look at the primary school textbooks that display cars and skyscrapers. Subconsciously, children are directed to be a city citizen. In reality, students across the country face different challenges and needs.”
The ministry should develop regional curricula to cater to the diverse educational environments of the archipelago, he said.
Imam Prasodjo, a sociologist from the University of Indonesia, agreed, saying that a local curriculum would help students to better know their local environments.
“According to UNESCO, education consists of four keys. The first is ‘learning to know’. How is it possible for children in rural areas to learn about the people and culture in their surroundings if they are forced to stay in class?” he said.
Imam suggested that parents participate more in their children’s education to fill the lacunae in the nation’s educational system.
“As mentioned by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, it takes a village to raise a child. Applying communitarianism in education has become urgent, considering that the government is still struggling to fix problems that are piling up,” he added.
Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh previously announced plans for a revised primary school curriculum comprising six compulsory subjects: religion, civics, Indonesian language, physical education, mathematics and arts and culture.
The ministry intends to scrap English-language classes and merge social studies and natural sciences with other subjects to ease the burden on students.
Nuh said on Monday that the ministry would conduct three pilot projects with the streamlined curriculum before implementing it in 2013.
Source: The Jakarta Post