Photo illustration: Novita Eka Syaputri
This article is part of the Teachers' Notes series on "What the beginning teachers would change if given the opportunity to transform regulations or policies in the field of education?"
The education world began to open its eyes when the Indonesian Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim delivered his speech at the commemoration of Teacher's Day. During his speech, the Minister mentioned that most of a teacher's time is spent on administrative work. It takes so much time, a teacher has to reduce their time teaching and innovating in the classroom.
Administrative work is not a simple matter. The more complex the administrative work, the more teachers lose their focus on teaching.
For example, arranging a lesson plan based on the 2013 curriculum takes multiple pages. It's unimaginable how long the time needed just to arrange one plan. On top of that, there are many evaluations and grading procedures to be done.
Teachers Have to Work Overtime
There is a new policy on the single-page lesson plan. Is it more effective or merely a formality?
Arranging a lesson plan is just a tiny part of a teacher's administrative work. There are many tasks and additional work to be done. For example, many schools in the rural area don't have a dedicated administration staff, so teachers have to take more role as Basic Education Data operator, School Operational Assistance operator, Regional School Operational Assistance operator, and assets operator. It is unimaginable how much time wasted doing all the administrative work.
Most of the time, the tasks must be done beyond working hours at school. Teachers have to work overtime at home and often lose sleep near deadlines. It does not make sense to demand teachers to innovate in the classroom because their strengths and thoughts have been spent in loads of administrative work.
Need Support from the Community
The Education Minister recently launched the Freedom to Learn policy in a bid to allow teachers to focus on teaching and help students strengthen their characters. Teachers will be able to focus on teaching if they don't have any administrative burden.
When teachers are free, then it will be easier to develop innovations in the education sector. Students will be comfortable and also free to learn. The goal of education will be achieved.
However, it needs more than reducing the teachers' administrative work to achieve all that. It needs thorough, comprehensive improvements, starting from policy, budget, infrastructure, well-established coordination between local and central government, school management, to improvements in students' environment.
Indonesian education will improve if all stakeholders take a role in the Freedom to Learn process, not the central government alone. The development of Indonesian education is the responsibility of all elements of the community.
*This Note was written by UDA, a primary school teacher in Central Java.
**All articles published in the Teachers' Notes are the views of the authors. They have been edited for popular writing purposes and do not represent the views of RISE Programme in Indonesia or RISE's funders.