Monday, March 28, 2016

Indonesia must tackle conflicts between schools and communities

Indonesia’s new Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Anies Baswedan has a huge task ahead of him.

Australia was alarmed when its students ranked 19th in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in 2012. But Southeast Asia’s largest economy performed much worse. Its students scored the second-lowest out of 65 countries. Vietnamese students scored better than Indonesians (and Australians), ranking 17th on the chart.

The Indonesian government has made efforts to improve the quality of education. It has mandated 20% of the national budget for education. There are plans to improve the learning process and to enhance the quality of teachers.

But there is one big problem that has often been overlooked.

Students caught in the crossfire

In many places in Indonesia, there is a long-standing conflict between communities and the schools that provide education for their children.

Trapped in the middle of the conflict are the students whose studies are often disrupted as a consequence.

Research in Bulukumba regency, in South Sulawesi and Sekadau, and Bengkayang regency, in West Kalimantan, revealed that one in three schools visited is in conflict with communities for several reasons.

First, schools often lack proper land documentation. Second, communities are “free-riding”, using school properties without proper care. Third, schools face vandalism or theft.

These challenges exist not only in these two provinces, but across Indonesia, wherever increased urbanisation is converting villages to cities or creating new jurisdictions as a consequence of decentralisation.

Conflict over land

Schools in rural areas often start with members of the community granting or selling a piece of land without proper documentation. As time goes by, these schools expand. Yet the land certification had never been completed until another party brings this issue to the front.

For example, the school bought the land a long time ago when the price of land was still low but did not immediately process proper land titles. As the price of land dramatically increased with the process of urbanisation, the next of kin of the former land owners became tempted to claim the land and demand a large amount of money.

Problems of schools that lack proper land documentation are widespread in Indonesia. In Mamuju regency in West Sulawesi, nearly all elementary schools - about 90% - do not own land titles. In Bulukumba regency, 70% of schools have the same problem. Half of the elementary schools in Lebak regency in Banten province also don’t own land titles.

Many schools have been ignoring this problem. Principals and teachers are too busy with teaching duties to resolve this. In extreme cases, the community seals the schools, barring entry to students and teachers.

In Sumenep regency in East Java, students had to temporarily use people’s home terraces before moving to a classroom of an Islamic school and then to a seaweed warehouse. In Bulukumba, students had to use the basement of people’s homes.

Problems in land documentation reflect school’s ignorance of the legal status of their land. Also, school officials often do not know how to handle land documentation problems, not to mention lacking the funds to acquire land. This is not only the case in rural areas or outside Java but also in urban areas and in Java.

The free-riders problem

Another type of conflict happens when communities use school grounds for non-school activities such as grazing areas for their cattle or goats after school time. This makes the school dirty and creates unsanitary conditions for students. It may cause health problems and prevent students' full participation in the education system.

Villagers also often use school grounds to store community tools and equipment. In one fishing village we visited, the fishermen put their net in the schoolyard as it was close to the sea.

Communities also use school grounds for recreational activities. Anybody can enter the school area to play football and, in the process, destroy plants or break classroom windows.

This issue affirms the fact that schools have been viewed as common goods and community members act like free riders. Anybody in the neighbourhood is free to take advantage of the school yard. Schools are regularly used by trespassers for individual benefits.

Vandalism and theft

The third conflict is caused by vandalism and theft of school property. Schools in both rural and urban areas face this issue.

In some cases, young delinquents loiter, get drunk and spray graffiti on school grounds. These activities are often combined with criminal action where school assets are stolen. School officials feel it is unsafe to keep various learning resources and materials at school.

While problems of land documentation have been reported in local media, the problems of free riders and vandalism are often unreported. Unless we visit the schools, we would not know they face these challenges. Schools seem to be helpless in defending themselves in these conflicts with the community.

Possible solutions

How should this be solved? For one thing, the new minister and regional governments should be aware of this long-standing problem.

The government should provide training for school principals to help them learn “soft” skills to engage with the community and revitalise school committees. School principals need to understand the culture of the local community and be open to working with them. Appointing principals who are part of the community might help ease the problems.

The school committee has an important role as a mediator between the school and the community. But often it is seen as a money-collecting institution for the school.

Many school committees have been inactive and lack the capacity to intervene. Conflicts with the community should be a spur to revitalise the school committee.

In terms of land issues, the local government should start documenting schools that presently lack land titles. Each school should keep its own land documentation.

The local government should also set aside budget funds to acquire problematic pieces of land. To solve this problem, government agencies, for example the Education Agency and the Land Agency, need to work together.

In terms of free riding, vandalism and theft, it is important to note that many schools still have no clear physical boundaries. Schools need financial assistance to build proper fences or hire security guards to protect grounds after school hours.

It is crucial for the government to enact measures that will improve learning processes and teaching capacity. But these measures can only be effective when schools are free from conflict with their communities.

The PISA results show that Indonesian students face serious challenges in their schooling. We should, at the very least, make sure they can study in peace.

Indonesia Education System Fails Students . . .?

Indonesian students need to revolutionize their learning approach to compete as multinational companies battle it out to lure the top talent from emerging markets, experts contend.

In 2008, the German chemicals giant Henkel created an international business game called the Henkel Innovation Challenge. The task for participants in this year’s competition was to develop a concept for an innovative and sustainability-related product according to the vision and market needs in 2050.
Eighteen student teams, each consisting of two students, from all over the world were summoned to develop innovative ideas for one of the company’s business areas: home care products, beauty care products and adhesive technologies.

This year marks the second time that teams from Indonesia are participating in the competition. Last year, a team from the University of Indonesia won third prize during the HIC 5 Southeast Asia National Finals. The students, Rena Carissa and Wiwin Wijaya, came up with an idea for a dry-cleaning shampoo, suitable for all hair types, that would dry upon usage, without the need to rinse with water.

This year, however, no Indonesian teams managed to replicate the success.

“In selecting the teams for the Southeast Asia Finals, we use strict evaluation criteria which include uniqueness of the idea, customer orientation and clarity and logic of the idea concept,” Allan Yong, the president of Henkel Indonesia, told the Jakarta Globe in a written statement.

“[The Indonesian] team submitted a very good concept, but we later found that the idea was not original. After much deliberation, we decided not to send a team from Indonesia.”

Utomo Dananjaya, an education expert at Paramadina University in Jakarta, said the problem lay with the country’s education system for failing to properly nurture its students’ creativity.

“Our education system heavily relies on memorizing texts. It doesn’t let the students’ ideas flow, and it dampens their creativity,” he said.

Memorization as a learning method is outdated and should be replaced with an approach that fosters the students’ creativity, he argued.

The Indonesian education system, Utomo went on, relies on one-way teaching with no interaction. It cultivates the students to be obedient, to regurgitate what the teachers say and does not allow them to think outside the box, he said.

“How can a student breed an original idea if, in order to excel in university, what they do in class is to memorize?” he said.

To prepare talented Indonesian youths to compete in the global market, what the nation needs is an education reform that strongly emphasizes reasoning and allows the students to think critically, and not simply to memorize.

“Then they are ready for work in a global environment,” Utomo said.

Sumarjono Suwito, the chairman of the Indonesian International Education Consultants Association, said corruption was also hampering developments in the national education sector.

The government has allocated Rp 286.85 trillion ($30.4 billion) for education this year, or 20 percent of the state budget, but no major changes have been made.

“The problem with education in Indonesia is that we don’t know where this money is going,” Sumarjono said.

He also stressed that the level of innovation in Indonesia was still low. He said it was regrettable that the government had overlooked the importance of the research and development sector.

“Look at how many of our bright minds have migrated overseas because they’re not supported in their own country,” Sumarjono said.

He added that to succeed economically, Indonesia should place greater emphasis on research and development.

Role of Education in Development

Education has the task to transform and prepare the human resources development. Pace of development is always sought in tune with the demands of the times. Development of the age always raises new issues that have never thought about before. This chapter will examine the main problems of education, and the interplay between the principal serve targeted, the factors influencing the development and actual problems and ways to overcome it.

What happens if the development in Indonesia is not accompanied by the development in education?. Although his physical development is good, but what’s the point when the nation’s moral decline. If this happens, the economy would be problematic, because each person will be corruption. So sooner or later will come the day when the state and the nation is destroyed. Therefore, for prevention, education must be one of the priorities in the development of the country.
Government Education Problems and Solutions
Regarding the problem of education, the attention of our government still feels very minimal. The picture is reflected in the diversity of an increasingly complex educational problems. The quality of students is still low, less professional instructors, cost of education is expensive, even chaotic rule of the Education Act. The impact of poor education, the future of our country getting worse. This downturn may also result from an average size of budget allocations for education both at the national, provincial, and city and county.

Solving the problems of education should not be done separately, but must be taken measures or actions that are comprehensive. That is, we not only pay attention to the increase in expenditure. Because it’s useless, if the quality of human resources and quality of education in Indonesia is still low. Problems organizing Nine-year Compulsory Education is actually still a big homework for us. The fact that we can see that many in the periphery areas that do not have adequate educational facilities. With the abandonment of the nine-year compulsory education program resulted in Indonesia’s children are still many who drop out of school before completing their nine-year compulsory education. Under these conditions, when no significant change in policy, it is difficult for this nation out of the educational problems that exist, let alone survive in the competition in the global era.

Ideal conditions in the field of education in Indonesia is that every child can go to school at least until the high school level regardless of their status because that is their right. But it is very difficult to realize at this time. Therefore, at least everyone has the same opportunity to get an education. If you look at the above problems, there was an inequality between the rich and the poor. Seemed to belong only to the rich school just so that people who lack feel inferior to school and hang out with them. Plus publication of the school about scholarships is severely limited.

Free schools in Indonesia should have adequate facilities, competent faculty, appropriate curriculum, and has the administrative and bureaucratic system is good and straightforward. However, in reality, free schools are schools located in remote areas of slums and everything was not able to support the school bench which raised the question, “Is the school for free? If yes, yes fair because it is very worrying.Role of Education in Development

Education has the task to transform and prepare the human resources development. Pace of development is always sought in tune with the demands of the times. Development of the age always raises new issues that have never thought about before. This chapter will examine the main problems of education, and the interplay between the principal serve targeted, the factors influencing the development and actual problems and ways to overcome it.

What happens if the development in Indonesia is not accompanied by the development in education?. Although his physical development is good, but what’s the point when the nation’s moral decline. If this happens, the economy would be problematic, because each person will be corruption. So sooner or later will come the day when the state and the nation is destroyed. Therefore, for prevention, education must be one of the priorities in the development of the country.
Government Education Problems and Solutions
Regarding the problem of education, the attention of our government still feels very minimal. The picture is reflected in the diversity of an increasingly complex educational problems. The quality of students is still low, less professional instructors, cost of education is expensive, even chaotic rule of the Education Act. The impact of poor education, the future of our country getting worse. This downturn may also result from an average size of budget allocations for education both at the national, provincial, and city and county.

Solving the problems of education should not be done separately, but must be taken measures or actions that are comprehensive. That is, we not only pay attention to the increase in expenditure. Because it’s useless, if the quality of human resources and quality of education in Indonesia is still low. Problems organizing Nine-year Compulsory Education is actually still a big homework for us. The fact that we can see that many in the periphery areas that do not have adequate educational facilities. With the abandonment of the nine-year compulsory education program resulted in Indonesia’s children are still many who drop out of school before completing their nine-year compulsory education. Under these conditions, when no significant change in policy, it is difficult for this nation out of the educational problems that exist, let alone survive in the competition in the global era.

Ideal conditions in the field of education in Indonesia is that every child can go to school at least until the high school level regardless of their status because that is their right. But it is very difficult to realize at this time. Therefore, at least everyone has the same opportunity to get an education. If you look at the above problems, there was an inequality between the rich and the poor. Seemed to belong only to the rich school just so that people who lack feel inferior to school and hang out with them. Plus publication of the school about scholarships is severely limited.

Free schools in Indonesia should have adequate facilities, competent faculty, appropriate curriculum, and has the administrative and bureaucratic system is good and straightforward. However, in reality, free schools are schools located in remote areas of slums and everything was not able to support the school bench which raised the question, “Is the school for free? If yes, yes fair because it is very worrying.

REFLECTIONS ON EDUCATION IN INDONESIA


Education is one of the key vehicles for the intellectual and professional development of our people and plays an increasingly important role in supporting a stronger and more globally competitive Indonesia. However, education in Indonesia still has several problems related to quality and access as well as the even distribution of well-trained teachers. 

Limited access to education in rural areas has contributed to increased urbanization as families relocate to cities in order to acquire better education. According to the Indonesian education activist Anies Baswedan, "the problem is that the number of education facilities in [the] Greater Jakarta area (Jabodetabek) is proportional, but we have a problem in the rural areas and it is causing urbanization to Jakarta." Baswedan calls for expanded educational access through the provision of increased educational services for communities as a whole. "If the schools are only located in district's capital, then many people might not be able to achieve proper education," he said.

Furthermore, the number of qualified teachers is still not evenly distributed in rural areas. According to the Director General of Primary Education at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Muhammad Hamid, many elementary schools (SD) in Indonesia face a serious shortage of teachers.  The amount is estimated to reach 112,000 teachers.  

To overcome the uneven teacher distribution, the Ministry of Education and Culture will work closely with local governments, both provincial and district / city, to improve teacher allocation in these areas. “If the teacher allocation can be optimally managed, areas that have a surplus of teachers can be transferred to nearby districts,” said Hamid.
In order to increase the number of qualified teachers in schools in Indonesia, the Ministry will offer bachelor degree scholarships for elementary (SD) and secondary school (SMP) teachers. Hamid estimates that only 60% of the 1.85 million elementary school teachers in Indonesia have bachelor degrees. Each year, the ministry also provide 100,000    bachelor degree scholarships for aspiring elementary and secondary school teachers. 

Of 120 countries included in the 2012 UNESCO Education For All Global Monitoring Report, which measures education quality, Indonesia is ranked 64th. UNESCO’s 2011 Education Development Index (EDI) ranked Indonesia 69th out of 127 countries. 

Additionally, the number of children that have dropped out of school in Indonesia is still high. "Based on the Ministry's  data in 2010, there are more than 1.8 million children each year cannot continue their education. This is caused by three factors, namely economic factors, children who are forced to work to support the family, and marriage at an early age," according to the Directorate General of Higher Education Secretary Dr. Ir. Patdono Suwignjo, M. Eng, Sc in Jakarta.

According to the latest Human Development Index, reported by the UNDP, Indonesia ranked 121st out of 185 countries, with an HDI of .629. The report shows that Indonesia is ranked lower than two of its neighboring ASEAN countries, Malaysia (64th) and Singapore (18th). The average score for the region was 0.683.

Many educational scholars, activists, and ministry officials have all recognized the need to address Indonesia’s educational problems. "We have to solve the education problems, because knowledge ownership is key to achieving one's well-being,"  according to Anies Baswedan. In addition to providing scholarships for teachers, the Government of Indonesia has implemented various policies to improve the education quality in order to face the global competition which marked by the realization of the ASEAN Community in 2015 .

In order to strengthen basic education for students, the Ministry has committed operational and budgetary resources to the implementation of the latest 2013 Curriculum by 2014. "[We’re] ready for next year and almost all schools can implement the 2013 Curriculum," said Deputy Minister of Education and Culture, Musliar Kasim.

The 2013 Curriculum focuses on the acquisition of contextual knowledge in respective areas and environments. The curriculum seeks to develop students' evaluation skills in three areas: attitude (honesty, politeness, and discipline),  technical skills (through practical work/school projects), and scientific knowledge. At the elementary level, the curriculum emphasizes the formation of attitudes and functional  skills over scientific knowledge, which receives more attention at higher educational levels. At the junior and senior high school levels, the academic rigor is increased since the students’ personalities were emphasized at the primary level. According to Musliar, the new curriculum will be applied to elementary students' grade 1, 2, 4 and 5,  junior high school students’ grade 8 and 9, as well as high school students’ grade 10 and 11.  

The government will not print textbooks. As with the implementation of the previous year, the Ministry's textbooks will be uploaded to the internet. 
The ministry will also set the maximum price for textbooks, which will be sold to the public. The 2013 Curriculum has been implemented since mid-2013 at a number of designated schools -- despite being criticized for its implementation seemed to be forced.

As an international aid agency supporting socio-economic development in Indonesia, USAID Indonesia has prioritized educational development through a number of initiatives including the USAID – PRESTASI program.

This year, USAID-PRESTASI selected 30 Indonesia professionals to receive scholarships for master’s degree programs at universities in the U.S. and Indonesia. The program is open to the public and is expected to support the development of human capital in candidates who are skilled in their field. These future leaders will ultimately make a positive contribution in their respective work environment once they returned to the In

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