flashback of the world of education in Indonesia

As one of the national character-building vehicles, schools are important locations where Indonesian "Nation Builders" are expected to be able to fight to bring the country to compete in the global arena. Along with the rapid global challenges, the challenges of the world of education are becoming even greater, this is what encourages students to get the best achievements.

However, the world of education in Indonesia still has several obstacles related to the quality of education including the limited access to education, the number of teachers who have not been evenly distributed, and the quality of the teachers themselves is considered to be lacking. The limited access to education in Indonesia, especially in the regions, has led to increasing urbanization to gain better access to knowledge in cities.

foto: fajar.co.id

According to Indonesian education activists, Anies Baswedan, limited access to education in the regions has become the base of the rapid flow of urbanization. "The problem is that in Jabodetabek the number is proportional, but we should not only talk urban. In fact, outside of urban areas we have problems and that causes migration to Jakarta," Anies said. Indirectly, Indonesian people are encouraged to urbanize due to limited facilities in the area. He assessed that access to education must be opened as widely as possible for all communities by providing facilities that support the program. "If the school is only in the capital city of the sub-district, then the distant ones will not be able to go to school," he said.

In addition, the number of teachers in accordance with the current qualifications is considered still not evenly distributed in the regions. According to the Director General of Basic Education (Elementary Education) of the Ministry of Education and Culture Hamid Muhammad, there are currently many elementary schools in Indonesia lacking teachers. The number is estimated to reach 112 thousand teachers.

To overcome this, the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud) will work with local governments, both at the provincial and district / city levels, in terms of the distribution of teachers in the regions to be more equitable. "If the management of the teacher can be handled more optimally, not partially, then it can be transferred to the regency or adjacent area," said Hamid.

Then, to improve the quality of teachers, the Ministry of Education and Culture will improve teacher qualifications through S-1 scholarships for elementary and junior high school teachers. Hamid explained, the number of elementary school teachers in public and private schools was around 1,850 thousand teachers. Of these, only 60 percent of teachers have qualified with a bachelor's degree, while the other 40 percent have not met the qualifications. Every year, the Ministry of Education and Culture also prepares scholarships for 100 thousand prospective teachers to take undergraduate education through the assistance of undergraduate scholarships for elementary and junior high school teachers. Internationally, the quality of Indonesian education is ranked 64th out of 120 countries worldwide based on the annual UNESCO Education For All Global Monitoring Report. Meanwhile, based on the Education Development Index (EDI), Indonesia is ranked 69 of 127 countries in 2011.

On the other hand, school dropouts in school-age children in Indonesia are also still high "Based on 2010 Ministry of Education and Culture data, in Indonesia there are more than 1.8 million children each year unable to continue their education. This is caused by three factors, namely economic factors "children are forced to work to support the family economy; and marriage at an early age," according to the Secretary of the Directorate General of Higher Education Dr. Ir. Patdono Suwignjo, M. Eng, Sc in Jakarta. In the 2013 UN Development Program's latest report, Indonesia occupies 121 positions from 185 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) with a number of 0.629. With that figure Indonesia lags behind the two neighboring ASEAN countries namely Malaysia (ranked 64) and Singapore (18), while HDI in the Asia Pacific region is 0.683.

"We have to solve this education problem, because ownership of knowledge is the key to achieving prosperity," according to Indonesian education figure Anies Baswedan. In the development of Indonesian education, the government has implemented various policies to improve the quality of education in order to face free world competition which will soon take effect with the realization of the ASEAN community in 2015.

To ease the burden and strengthen the education base for Indonesian students, the Ministry of Education and Culture ensures that it will fully implement the 2013 Curriculum starting in 2014, and even has prepared a budget to support the operation of the curriculum. "It's ready and next year almost all (schools) can carry out the 2013 Curriculum," said Deputy Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia Musliar Kasim.

2013 Curriculum is an Education Unit Level Curriculum (KTSP) which focuses on mastering contextual knowledge according to each region and environment. The curriculum emphasizes student assessment on three things: attitudes (honest, polite, disciplined), skills (through school practice / project assignments), and scientific knowledge. At the basic level such as elementary school, this curriculum is more focused on forming attitudes and life skills, while the science is more 'mild' than the Education Unit Level Curriculum.

At the advanced level such as junior high and high school, the portion of scientific mastery is increased because students' personalities are considered to have formed at the elementary level. According to the Musliar, the new curriculum will be applied to elementary students in grades 1, 2, 4 and 5; middle school students in grades 8 and 9; as well as 10th and 11th grade high school students. The government will not print teaching material books. Like the implementation of the previous year, the Ministry of Education and Culture will upload teaching material books to internet sites.

The Ministry of Education and Culture will set the highest retail price for books targeted to be circulated freely. The 2013 curriculum itself has actually been implemented since mid-2013 in a number of selected schools, although it was criticized because its implementation seemed forced.

As an international aid agency working in the socio-economic development sector, USAID Indonesia places great emphasis on developing the quality of education through a number of programs that are running now, one of which is through the USAID-PRESTASI S2 scholarship program. This year, USAID-PRESTASI provides S2 scholarships to 31 Indonesian professionals. This program is open to the public and is expected to be able to support the development of competent human resources in their respective fields who will ultimately contribute positively to their respective work environments after they return to their homeland.