Basic education in Indonesia is compulsory and includes six years of primary school (Grade 1-6) and 3 years of junior secondary school (Grade 7-9). In the past decades, Indonesia has achieved huge progress in improving access to basic education. As of 2019, net enrolment rates were 98 percent at the primary level and 79 percent at the junior secondary level. This achievement can be largely attributed to government efforts to provide free education in public schools. Nevertheless, Indonesia still faces the challenge of improving equity in access to quality education, specifically at the junior secondary school level.
A new paper by the RISE Indonesia Country Research Team tackles social norms head-on. In this paper, Risa Nihayah, Shintia Revina, and Syaikhu Usman analyse extensive fieldwork in three Indonesian districts that have successfully introduced innovations for educational improvement. The three studied districts—Bukittinggi, Yogyakarta, and Gowa—share an innovative streak, but differ in both their social norms and the innovations they initiated.
What causes gains in student learning? When a policy change or intervention yields better student learning outcomes, this is cause for celebration. But if we want those learning gains to become a reality for other children in other contexts, we need to go beyond celebration toward analysing what exactly the intervention achieved—such as whether the learning gains were accompanied by undesirable side effects—and how exactly the intervention achieved it.
During the commemoration of the Teachers’ Day on November 25, Indonesia’s newly appointed Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim asked teachers to become the agents of change for the freedom to learn in the country.
Hikmat Hardono (Chairperson of Indonesia Mengajar, Member of RISE Programme in Indonesia Advisory Board) invites us to rethink the concept of student attendance and the one-size-fits-all policy that is still Jakartacentric even though students' conditions differ from Sabang to Merauke.
Teacher competence and professionalism play an important role in the success of student learning. As long as the government does not prioritise improving the quality of teachers or mapping the competence of teachers, it is difficult to imagine that the quality of education in Indonesia will be better.
Despite the low quality of student learning in Indonesia, student guardians rarely question this acute problem openly and en masse to teachers, schools, government, and parliament. Parents deal with their children’s poor learning outcome by signing them up to private lessons.
Indonesian central government devolved its authority over the education sector to local governments more than 18 years ago. Since then, the delivery of basic education services depends on the capabilities of more than 500 district administrations across Indonesia.