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".
Policies applied in each school vary; some come from the central government, some from regional government (local education agencies), and some are produced by the school (endorsed by the school components). All policies are binding, meaning all school personnel must carry them out.
One of the policies is to pay contract teachers using the School Operational Assistance (BOS) fund, a government programme to provide operational costs for basic education units as implementers of compulsory education. The government distributes BOS fund to schools to ensure that no more children drop out of school due to financial constraints. The amount of the fund depends on the number of students in each school. The fund can be used to finance school programmes or activities, including paying contract teachers or education personnel.
Low Pay, a Myriad of Tasks
To date, only half of the BOS fund can be used to pay for teachers or education personnel, provided that they have unique identification numbers for teachers and education personnel known as NUPTK. Some schools have fewer students and more contract teachers, which results in contract teachers and education personnel receiving low pay.
Despite the low pay, teachers have a myriad of tasks to do, from making lesson plans, assessing students' competencies, making tests and grading them, doing some analysis, and others. There are also administrative tasks such as data input, managing the BOS fund, supporting other teachers, and many other things. It is common for beginning teachers and new education personnel who are still on contract to be given multiple tasks because they are capable and there is no one else to take care of school administration.
In the district where I teach, the salary for teachers and contract teachers is about 300,000 rupiah (roughly $21) per month. In this day and age, that kind of money is not enough to cover daily necessities for one month. Therefore, many teachers and education personnel take side jobs outside the school.
Low pay for teachers and education personnel is affecting the quality of education in Indonesia. Many graduates of teacher colleges with great teaching skills opt to work outside the field of education due to the low pay. As a result, many primary school teachers whose backgrounds are not in line with primary school education.
The government should allocate a special fund to pay for contract teachers or education personnel in Indonesia. The government should also gradually open civil servant positions for teachers and education personnel, both for the general public and the privileged. The latter would include teachers and education personnel who have served and excelled—under contract employment—at school, the regional, or the national level based on the school principal’s recommendation.
This, hopefully, would encourage contract teachers and education personnel in teaching and educating Indonesian children.
*This Note was written by IK, a primary school teacher in Yogyakarta.
**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.