Historical Background on Indonesian Educational Reform - Pondok Belajar

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Historical Background on Indonesian Educational Reform

A. Historical background on Indonesian education reform
The present system of educational reform and practice cannot be detached from its historical contexts. The development of Indonesian modern people is intermingled by the restoration efforts in replacing the loss of valuable traditional values, gaining national economy and developing science and technology. In this position the process of educational reform is a complex one. 
Historical Background on Indonesian Educational Reform
Historical Background on Indonesian Educational Reform
The main priority for the educational reform is validation because of the heterogeneous local conditions. Infrastructure and economic development are unevenly distributed. Some interiors especially of eastern islands of Indonesia are still living in the very poor conditions; therefore implementation of unified centralized solutions in educational reform will vary in different areas. 
Historically, prior to the rule of Europeans, education for people throughout the archipelago was relatively simple. Children learned from parents or their elders to gain the practical skills needed to survive. Cultivating fields, weaving cloth, and building houses, cooking, and catching fish are examples of the skills, which had been learned by the children without formal instructions. but, a very highly specialized teaching materiasls  were given to children of the aristocracy to instruct them in dancing, music, religion and traditional leadership. Education mutated from domestic practices for peasantry to the more structured padepokan (non-religious learning center) in parallel with court education for royal families. In the steps  these systems would combined with the Islamic elements shifted as padepokan to become pesantren (Islamic boarding school) and Christian schools. Later on, Indonesianisation was introduced by encouraging the use of the Indonesian language. And This whole legacy of history contributes to the rich contexts of the present educational system.
Educational reforms in Indonesia from 1947 up to 1977 were closely linked to social and political reasons in the reaffirmation of inculcating ideology and beliefs. The first educational planning was designed in 1947, this planning was further revised in 1952. The reform was aimed at meeting the need of a newly independent country and a rural society. Developing patriotism became the priority in this planning. The explanation of natural phenomenas, cultivation of aesthetics and eradication of superstition and violence were among the goals of primary education. The system functioned to inculcate particular values and beliefs thus; the development of science and technology had less concentrated.

The emphasis on national ideology was concentrated in the sixties. The reform was predominated by political disturbance situations. The development of citizenship ideals and values of Pancasila were the main interest in the 1964 curriculum reform. The development of Bahasa Indonesia as a national language and the preservation of Indonesian heterocultures situation were also emphasized. A bias of curriculum materials was recognized not only related to colonial heritage, but also to remedy an impact of Java centrism (Jasin, 1987). Four years later, at the 'new-order' government, the emphasis on ideology was more significant. Developing 'Pancasila identity' became the priority in the curriculum of 1968. Focus of the curriculum was meeting the need of rural society, recognition of the paramount importance of vocational skills and further education.

In 1975, curriculum reform placed the significance of science and technology development. This reform resulted in the 1975 curriculum, which was the most overloaded and overdose, heavy lesson content  and very objective exams oriented. These influenced by instructional design paradigm, which heavily relies on objectives, instruction and evaluation. On the 1984 reform attempted to simplify all of them. The recent reform of 1994 incorporates technology through problem-solving, critical thinking, and inquiry skills into classroom practice. In this reform nine years compulsory basic education is implemented and the importance of human resource development as an economic actor is emphasized. 
B. Contexts of Education Reform 

Through years of effort, Indonesia has achieved almost compulsory of education at the primary level (six years). At present, about 94.4 % (28.3 million) of the age cohort is enrolled in national primary schools. The enrollment number, however, is low for junior secondary school (54.8% or 9.4 million), much lower for senior secondary school (31.5% or 5.3 million), and very low for tertiary education (11.6% or 2.9 million). 

In addition, support and services for early childhood education are still limited. There are about 11.3 million children of 4-6 years of age that need to be supported to have pre-primary education. The delay on early childhood education development would deny the quality improvement of human resources.
Data on special education indicates that support on this group has to be enhanced. Furthermore, data on non-formal education shows that about 17 million people are functional illiterates and about one million of children age 7-12 years is drop outs from primary schools.

The problem of Indonesia National Education System is also evident from a number of recent international studies and comparisons. Indonesia's 12- and 13-year old students has very low performance (Number 32 for science and 34 for mathematic) in Mathematics and Science in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) that participated by 41 countries. 

C. Reasons for Reform
There are several significant reasons that indicate necessity of education reform. 

First, are education access and its implication for improving quality of life. As it is indicated in the contexts of education reform, Indonesia has not fully accomplished universal education at the primary and the secondary levels even though basic education has been improve to 9 years and made compulsory. The dropout rate for each Primary school is also high. The Government is concerned that children who are not enrolled in schools are not being equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to be productive citizens in the knowledge age. Education has to support economic growth and promote sense of integration of Indonesian archipelago. In Indonesia, education plays an important role to increase individual income, therefore relevancy of education need to be improved. 

Second, is preparing young generation for the knowledge age. The Government recognizes that education is the most effective long-term solution to achieve national development and stability for the nation, to promote diverse local culture and customs by broadening common core elements in curriculum. In addition, education has to prepare young generation to participate in local, national and global economies. In order to prepare young generation to live in knowledge-based economy and democratic society, the youth should have more engagement in building new skills and attitudes needed for work and a social life in the knowledge. Consequently, reform on learning is crucial for providing a foundation for lifelong learning, character building, problem solving and critical thinking; and developing flexibility to manage change. Curriculum reform has to contribute to the foundations for a skilled workforce confident in its ability to compete in future global markets.

Third, is the need to develop information technology (IT). Up to this moment Indonesia has yet not a clearly insisted on the use of information technology (IT) in its educational policy. The provision of computers and peripherals to schools and IT training for teachers and students are very limited. Because of the knowledge age, IT development has to become a national agenda for education reform despite of our scarcity of resources.

Four, is implementation regional autonomy. Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 22, 1999, concerning Regional Administration stipulates authority of the regions. Article 7, verse 1 of Law No.22, 1999, states that authority of regions includes authority in all governmental sectors, except authority in foreign policy, defense and security, the administration of justice, monetary and fiscal, and religious affair. The consequent of regional autonomy for education is a district-based education planning, management and quality assurances. This is not a simple shift from a centralized to a decentralized educational planning and practices. The government needs to provide a well-prepared and well-informed district-based education system. 

Fifth, is improving madrasahs. The quality of Madrasahs or Islamic religious schools which is part of Indonesian national education system is, in general, lower than regular schools. Besides offering Islamic religious education, madrasahs also provide instruction based-on national curriculum. The national education system has to be reformed in order to include issues on madrasahs education which is held under the Ministry of Religious Affair (MORA).

Finally is moral development. Fundamentally, education is about nurturing the whole person. A holistic education encompasses moral, cognitive, physical, social, and esthetic aspects of personal development. In the knowledge age the students need to learn how to be life-long learners, be independent thinkers and innovators. At the same time, students in Indonesia come from different ethnicity, local languages, cultures, customs and religions. They go to schools and share a common experience of growing up together, studying together, playing together, and singing the national anthem together. Although these are precious life experiences which help in building emotional ties, identification, and a sense of commitment to one another as Indonesian citizens, the student needs to value their differences and learn how to live together with their different interests. The development of moral education also needs to include aspects of clean government and good governance. 

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