Friday, March 21, 2008

The Quest for Quality Teachers

We may all agree that only by investing heavily, smartly and consistently on education that this country will have a much better chance to prosper, and that people's prosperity shall be one of the main objectives of all country's leaders.

Quality education shall produce quality people who will, hopefully, have strong research capabilities for the advancement of science, technology and humanity in the improvements of sourcing, production or usage of energy, food, weapons, factory, trade, transportation, telecommunication, forestry, mining, health care, arts, and so forth. One of the most important factors in the pursuit of quality education is of course the availability of abundant quality teachers.

In 2005 we witnessed the issuance of Law No. 5 / 2005 on Teacher and Lecturer, and the ministry of education has created a program for the socialization and implementation of the law, such as what we can find in this ministry program policy presentation.

Going through the slides, we find out how huge the challenge for the government is and how long shall we wait until we can expect to get better quality education and how long some of our beloved teachers shall wait until they can live more decent lives.

Out of 1,673,992 teachers employed by government, a staggering 1,203,403 (72%) of them are not qualified or with no undergraduate degrees. Whilst I truly believe that some of them are good dedicated teachers, even better than those with proper qualifications, still there's a dire need to improve their level of educations. Many of them actually have strong motivation to continue their studies, only that most of them face classical funding problems.

The plan was that 40% of the teachers should have the proper minimum qualifications by 2009. However, if we follow the plan, it will take more than 20 years for all teachers to have the minimum qualifications. When I first thinking to write about this post, I was actually dreaming of how if all elementary teachers had graduate degrees, and even post graduate ones...

The plan also stated that 100% teachers should receive functional allowance, between Rp.200,000 - 300,000 per month, in 2007 onwards. In addition, 25% of the teachers should receive professional allowance with amount of Rp. 1,250,000 per month in 2009, which is a significant increase from a mere 5% in 2007. However, there should be a correlation between professional allowance with teachers' qualification, and hence the target shall actually be at 40%.

There are also allowance for teachers who live in remote areas amounting Rp.1,250,000 per month, and also budget for the improvements of education facilities, education support, housing and others.

In short, the plan to improve teachers qualifications and welfare is there. The question is whether they are at the right amount and whether we can shorten the time to achieve it.

Meanwhile the ministry of education has issued another ministry regulation No 18 - 2007 in order to improve the qualifications of teachers where teachers certification shall be done through competency test in the form of portfolio assessments.

The portfolio is physical documented proof that shows teachers' achievement and works during their service in certain period of time. Teachers are required to submit all documents related with their qualifications, experience, training and education.

To refresh our memory, there are 10 components of the portfolio that covers (1) academic qualifications, (2) training and education, (3) teaching experience, (4) planning and execution of learning, (5) assessment of superior and supervisor, (6) academic achievements, (7) profession developmental works, (8) participation in scientific forum, (9) experience in the field of social and education, and (10) relevant awards in education.

Whilst the concept is good on paper, there are many challenges in the implementation of the regulation, especially for teachers in remote areas where some of the components are much more difficult to collect compared to those living in big cities.
Hence, it requires adjustments and also facilitation so that all teachers will have equal opportunity to fulfill the requirements.

The improvements of teachers' welfare shall correlates with improvements in teachers' quality, and these require a lot of funding and strong political will from the president and lawmakers. The rest is in the ability and cleanliness of the people in the ministry of education on the execution and improvements of the programs.

Reading: Antara

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  1. You have posted a good article here. Basically I agreed to what the government wants to achieve. Ideally to teach in university you need to have at least an undergraduate degree. It is better if you have a post graduate degree. I, myself, is a lecturer but currently still pursuing my postgraduate study. Hopefully the level of education means the level of welfare will also increases. Sometimes that is not the case. A person whose level of education is lower has a higher salary than others who have higher level of education. We need see the fact that this is the common problem that we are facing in the university. I hope that the welfare of teachers and lecturers will be improved very soon as they are the most fundamental part of our nation's education.

  2. @Agus Sanjaya: my initial thought was actually for teachers to be encouraged and supported to get higher degrees, from D3 to S1, S1 to S2, S2 to S3, and recognizing those higher degrees with higher salaries and allowances.
    Hence one day, hopefully there will be many elementary teachers with S2 and S3 degrees, and even professors..., why yes :)

  3. A thoughtful article.
    I could not overemphasize the importance of the evaluation and monitoring of the field implementation of such programs.

    Whilst the ministry's plan regarding teachers and lecturers are designed with all good intentions, like many other Laws or Regulations issued in our country they can end up only as paperwork without concrete realizations.

    The bottomline, in my opinion, is that human resources (i.e. teachers and lecturers) are the men behind the gun in any education system, therefore their indispensable role must be recognized with a proper and well-balance reward system.

    The fact is that those professions are perhaps one of the most least rewarded jobs in our country e.g. compared to doctors or lawyers. The government (and the rest of the community) should work together persistently to change this before thinking of any other program.

  4. I know that some private high schools in Jakarta have already encouraged their teachers to pursue higher education (post grad). It's tough since not many grad schools have flexible program that allow students still do their works (as teachers). On the other hand, it's hard for teachers to temporarily quit their jobs as it will reduce their income. There should be fellowships for these teachers. Don't you think?

  5. @Vina Revi: it seems that the monitoring of the implementation is still weak, and the education ministry is not immune from corruption and weaknesses. We need a strong education watchdog such as walhi in the environment sector.

    Strong commitment from teachers to improve their quality teaching is also very important, and hence their improvements in welfare will not be fruitless.

    @Nurul: agree jeng, government and the private school management support are quite crucial. Teachers who are studying to get higher degree shall also receive full salary and allowances.

  6. komennya indo ya.....:D
    Mas mustinya kita mencontoh negeri cina.. disana dedikasi tiap guru diperhatikan bgt trus jenjang pendidikan juga jelas.. mereka bener2 serius dalam hal ini..

  7. Hi webmaster,
    I've given a link to you and i m expecting a back link from you.
    Your link is placed here-
    Gamer's Paradise-
    Plz place my link ASAP.

  8. What can i say, you already mention a better solution to improved teachers qualifications.. however, i still doubt it, well, maybe i'm not very optimistic about how these plan would work. esp. with the habits of our ppl. NATO...

  9. It's never been so easy either never will. But let's move on.
    Kebetulan saya bekerja di bidang pendidikan, oh..mengenaskan.
    Salam kenal Pak. Link boleh?

  10. @manler: saya pikir kita bisa juga koq bung, meski perlu waktu lama, kebanyakan tidur ...

    @drraman: it's done.

    @Trisna: needs strong encouragement, maybe a little pressure here and there, and support them as well nduk. will take time....

    @Qeong Ungu: setuju jeng, kasih waktu mereka untuk deliver, dan perlu terus disemangati... Salam kenal juga dan saya sudah link ya...

  11. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Tapi bukankah setelah menetapkan pilihan untuk menjadi guru di Indonesia seharusnya konsisten dan realistis dengan kenyataan bahwa kesejahteraan mereka akan seperti ini. Ini jawaban yang senja peroleh saat bertanya kepada bokap kenapa mau jadi guru dengan segala kenyataan pahit di Indonesia...wakakakaka. btw, headernya keren, dapat dari mana tuh?????

  12. Ngenes kalo ngomongin nasib guru di indonesia mas :D

  13. Thank you for the article. Very excited to read it and to know about the plans of our gov to produce quality teachers.

    I spent my elementary + junior high at an Indonesian embassy's school in Jeddah. The situation over there was (and is still) very bad! As a result, a lot of students did not pass last year's UAN. Indonesian schools in overseas have an aweful condition and I can't imagine how the real situation of Indonesian schools in Indonesia itself.

    I just want to say.. goodluck to our government.. it's an amazing plan but I really hope it will work... :)

  14. -cewektulen- emang gak bisa login nduk, atau takut kesimpen di warnet passwordnya :). header2-nya dari foto2 sendiri lah nduk...

    @Nuuii: ada yg ngenesin, nggemesin, nyebelin...:) wis pokoke rame rasanya. Kita dorong bareng2 deh biar lebih cepet maju...

    @amellie: there'll always be challenges as things never be in or close to perfection..., but significant improvement in many aspects are definitely needed, faster.

  15. Pahlawan tanpa tanda jasa. Kita bisa seperti sekarang karena jasa para guru. Jadi terkenang mereka-2 :-|

  16. Guru..saya memang terutang jasa sama mereka. tetapi kalo masalah kesejahteraan bisa usaha yang laen pak..hehe. Terlalu kompleks masalah negara ini. mungkin kita harus berubah mind set, apa yang bisa kita berikan buat negara, bukan sebaliknya.

  17. @Indonesia Today: memang tidak semua guru itu baik; tetapi meski yang tidak baik sekali pun bisa juga menjadi inspirasi buat murid2nya, dan kadang bahkan mempu mengubah jalan hidup. salam untuk para guru:)

    @Jevandra Putra Raden: guru yg berbisnis buku pelajaran sekolah dan memberik les privat juga gak sedikit, dan menjadi lumayan kaya, tetapi mungkin bukan itu yg dikehendaki karena akan selalu ada tabrakan kepentingan dan pemihakan.

  18. What a great post, mas:)
    nothing to add, just hopefully it will happen one day.

  19. @TASH: yeah nduk, life will never be perfect even when all teachers are already qualified and properly rewarded, but at least we face different challenges and tougher ones...

  20. I am not an Indonesian, have spent the past 8 years visiting Indonesia and I still am. This is my observation and it relates to the title of this article.
    I have had a bitter experience from an educational project with a group of Professors from the University of Bengkulu. I am not crying over financial losses. I abhor the fact that from the one of the highest centers of Indonesian education, the professionalism, attitude and honesty of educators leaves a lot to be desired.
    I have always had the opinion that what it is going to take to turn Indonesia around is enhancing the quality of education. I am unable to elaborate more due to Blog space limitation. I am prepared to enter into a discourse offline. However, for now, that initial opinion and the dastardly revelation of the mindset of professional educators in Indonesia has diluted that belief.
    It seems like a round robbin chicken or egg which came first issue as to what make an impact for progress in Indonesia. No doubt, the quality of education has its benefits but there is a dearth of job opportunities throughout Indonesia. So does having a more educated populace in itself provide the solutions to long standing problems of administrative ineptness in the country? What about distribution of wealth and marginalisation of minorities? Above all what good is there to have educated citizens while the country is torn to pieces by avarice, a culture of corruption, a deteriorating purchasing power of the Rupiah for the common citizen? What good is there in to ponder on the need to have educators of merit? The whole system is rotten to the core by those within the system per se. My comment thus far is not to be regarded as being a calumny against Indonesia and Indonesians. There is too much "sandiwara" going on in Indonesia, hot air exchanges, meaningless talk shows, aimless discussions, hollow intentions and blatant lies made by the leaders at all levels of Indonesian society then, now and will continue albeit forever. There is no earnestness to get the job done, to see that the Rakyat is able to rise above themselves, to attain. It is a well orchestrated conspiracy of the rich and the powerful to intoxicate the citizens with rubbish while the ensure their longevity and personal gains. Indonesians live under a subtle form of suppression, a modern day feudalistic system. Upgrading Education and the Educators will not have an positive impact. What Indonesia needs is a benevolent tyrant who is capable to reset the economics and the mindset of the populace. Right now as I see it, it is the dire need to create jobs, jobs, jobs throughout the Republic with astute macroeconomic mnangement and to invoke the death sentence to corrupt officials and white collar employers and white collar employees. If the death sentence is not possible, use one of the thousands of islands as a Guantanmo type isolation camp for all these scum of Indonesia till their last day on earth. As with the cliche - when the going is tough, the tough gets going.

  21. @Wind Mill: if those educators were products of flawed systems and sick society than we couldn't expect much. However, I'm a believer that there are still diamonds among the muds. Those are true educators, not only teachers who dedicate their mind, heart and soul for the advancement of their students and the nation.

    When we have solved one or more problems, such as having educated society, it doesn't necessarily mean that things will automatically get better or perfect. But we'll face different challenges, we are moving ahead.

    It seems that there's no positive correlation betweeen corruption, education and religion. There's something wrong with the method and the content of the delivery of the teaching.

    If it is true that the whole system is rotten to the core, the wheel of life will then move to one direction only, up.

    It's true that there are too many Sandiwara in politics, but politics is "sandiwara", and only by playing the expected roles people will survive, or else they have to quit.

    I'm in an agreement that Indonesia needs a strong leader who can change the way people think and do, but he or she's not necessarily a tyrant.

    The rest needs strong political will from the person at the top and lawmakers.

  22. Hi aroengbinang,
    First, thank you for replying.

    It is obvious that you have an optimism about a recovery in Indonesia. That of course is a good virtue because it gives hope.
    We all need that.

    May I draw attention to the correct understanding of the word politics.

    As defined:

    1 the activities associated with governing a country or area, and with the political relations between states.

    2 a particular set of political beliefs or principles.

    3 activities aimed at gaining power within an organization: office politics.

    4 the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status: the politics of gender.

    Politics is often ridiculed in similar expressions that you have mentioned. I did too but it served as a reflection that it is not what politics is in the way it is in Indonesia.

    The morals of politics in Indonesia, of Religion and that of Education are intertwined by one commone denominator. It is the same human behind all three. How can it not be correlated positively?

    Let me put aside Indonesia for a moment and put another example. What caused Europe to sink into the Dark Ages?


    Historians alike all concur that it was all these three combined. It was the unscrupulous leaders of the Catholic Faith that controlled the Kings and Emperors of Europe (that's politics), were selective in who were entitled to learn and write (that's education) and practised draconian and inhuman inquisitions to condemn and punish heretics and anyone who was deemed a threat to the propagation of the Catholic Faith.

    I am a Catholic and I speak without fear or favour.

    Now back to Indonesia.

    With that given example, although I am not drawing a similar analogy to present day Indonesia, I am separating the illusive comprehension of what politics means when it is casually interpreted as "that's what politics is all about" rather than what is politics in principle.

    What we have here is a reverse case of one bad apple in a basket. We know what that interprets. We should also know what are the irreversible consequences of one good apple in a basket.

    Indonesia has had a few good leaders. They started off good and they lost their direction.

    What Indonesia has not had is a forceful leader.

    Perhaps it is a cultural aspect in Indonesia that it is unIndonesian to be creatively forceful.

    Giving the above assumption the benefit of the doubt, is it not also culturally unIndonesian to be destructively forceful by men who are filled with greed and vice?

    Hence, so what is unIndonesian with accepting the overpowering fact that the prevailing conditions in Indonesia warrants a benevolent tyrant to get the country back on the right track?

    We take a brief respite on the Indonesian discussion.

    Remember what it took the United Kingdom to get back on track when the entire Kingdom was on the verge of being run by Socialist Communist Labour Organisations?

    It took an Iron Lady named Margaret Thatcher. We know what this Iron Lady did to restore the Kingdom. Of course she was unpopular especially to those for who had unpatriotic intentions for the Kingdom. Had UK been led at that particular time by some other weak minded politician, UK would have been devastated.

    Look at what Predient General De Gaule did for France? He was disliked by his own countrymen let alone by other powerful nations.

    There are more examples to quote but let me leave it at that for now.

    Indonesia IS rotten to the core. Unwillingness to accept this fact only supports its longevity. In the 20th Century there have been Nations that have gone bankrupt. That is not an academic what if.

    At the start of the 21st. Century, we know of failed States and those at the brink in joining its rank. What makes you think that the only way as you state, IF Indonesia is rotten to the core that they only way is: UP?

    It does not remove the sad possibility that as long as the important indices points otherwise, it can go further DOWN from where it is today.

    The classic case is the International Relief and Aid that was poured into Indonesia for the Tsunami strickened Aceh. Not since WWII has the World seen such an outpouring of such kind.

    Shall we go into the details of what results it has produced in Aceh till this very day vis-a-vis the amount Indonesia received?

    Was it not Religion too that got in the way of assistance provided in the aftermath of the tragedy?

    Was it not stupidity that came from what a Professor in Bengkulu replied to me when I asked him what the sufferings meant to their Northern neigbours? His answer: Oh we don't really care. Why should we? When we had our sufferings with Earthquakes in the recent past, they (the Achenese) did nothing to rally to support our suffering.

    Was it not your present Vice President who assured the International Community that the aid in kind or in cash would not be mismanaged and that there would be public accountablility for it?

    Again, Politcs, Education and Religion contrived together to deny the Tsunami victims of what the entire World gave for their recovery.

    This and so many other issues continue to showcase my points in the initial commentary.

    But of course, we can all harbour wishful thinking. Nothing wrong with that save that nothing gets done either.

  23. @Wind Mill: Optimism is a choice. No matter how bad the situation is, there's always a hope for optimists, and no matter how good situation is, there's always a bleak spot for pessimist. Not one is better than the other though.

    Indonesians are bombarded with negative news, opinions, judgments, fact, perception that erode self-confidence and dignity of the people. Corruption, unemployment, poverty, earthquake, floods, landslide, food and kerosene scarcity, terrorism, sectarian conflicts, etc. are consumed every day. I choose not be intimidated by things beyond my controls and deeds I do not commit to, and so shouldn't the people be.

    Politics is how to seize power, strengthen it over time and keep it as long as possible, at carefully calculated expenses, regardless the objectives. Higher education may only change the sophistication of the means and the vehicles to get things done or not done, but the essence remains.

    Religions have many faces, good as well as evil, as many as people's faces who subscribe to them. It can be constructive as well as destructive, liberating as well as confining.

    What happens in Indonesia, as you also mentioned, is not a unique one. It happens everywhere else in the world at certain points in time. The differences are only the name of the religion, the people behind it, and the context. I'm not too much worry about it, as it's a movement of a pendulum, left-center-right-center-left or ups-downs-ups-downs.

    The danger with religion is when a person or a group of people feel and think that they are the holder of the only key to hell and heaven, and they take the rights from God to condemn and punish those who differ, instead of focusing on their own behaviors and look honestly into the way they deliver their teachings. These groups of people always exist in any era.

    As for the case of apple, there are neither such perfect good apples nor completely bad ones. The perfect good is angel, the perfect bad is devil, and they both do not exist physically on earth. There are hence always elements of good in bad, and bad in good. The lever that changes the balance can move anytime. It just needs a call, maybe from a forceful leader as you said. Forceful or not, the leader must get support from the military and knows how to keep their loyalty, sometimes at the expense of common people's interests.

    I'm a believer of 'Cokro Penggilingan', the wheel of life. The wheel will always be in movement until it stops completely and that means the death of a person, a nation or the human race. No death happens without an approval from the Maker, and hence I wouldn't worry about that. When a country is in almost perfect conditions, as there's no such perfection on earth, there's only one way to go: down and destruction, and to reborn again. Consider Lebanon, Babylon as examples. The opposite conditions also occur. The time needed for the wheel to move from one point to another is unknown. The only thing we can do is to change the human clock with clock of Universe.

    As for indices, they only tell the past and the present, but anything can happen in the future. The future remains a mystery, and it's up to us whether we want to be optimists or pessimists.

    The misused of the aids, such as in Aceh, should already be understood and prevented by donors knowing the real conditions in the field, and I believe it had. No matter how good the preventive measures were, however, such a huge scale of aids couldn't be perfectly controlled by local and central government that have no systems and people in place to handle it. It's also a long fight against poverty of the mind, heart and soul. It wouldn't change overnight with a promise of a vice president.

    As a final note, I sense a high level of concerns and affections towards the country and the people, and I'm grateful and appreciate that. It’s just how we see things that differ, and it’s perfectly acceptable.

  24. Wind Mill & Aroengbinang
    @_@ WoOoOoW!!!!!!
    These are the L.O.N.G.E.S.T comment i ever saw in blogger(dot)com history...
    MAN! both of you are SOoooo SMART!!
    Can i be your student?
    Guru? Sifu? Teacher? ((((bowing to ya))))

    This blog deserved an award!
    And i've voted you and made you a Bloggerchoiceawards... Appreciate it if you accept it, okie Mr.Aroengbinang?

    Here are your awards...
    Congrats on your BEST BLOG ABOUT STUFF award
    Congrats on your BEST EDUCATION BLOG award
    Congrats on your BEST POLITICAL BLOG award
    Congrats on your BLOGITZER award

    If you pleased with the awards, you can choose either one of them and add the badge to your sidebar (^_^) look at the "get code" text link...

    And join the group here to get voters, it's a mutual group, you have to vote them first (UGH) i know, but hey! look at the bright side... got more visitors (^^,)
    Blogger Choice Awards Group at BC

    Oke then... have a great day and Happy Blogging
    Chronicles of Trisna

  25. @Trisna: yeah right, it's the longest comments and replies ever. Thanks to Windmill to make it happened :D.
    I'm happy for you to be my student nduk, I'm no wiseman :D.
    Appreciate for the awards!

  26. Hahahahahahaha...

    Cuma mo bilang... baru kali ini ada yang NGALAHIN PANJANGNYA komen silly. Saya selalu dikomplain temen2 kalo "NGEJALANG alias komentar di blog orang", GAK PERNAH bisa pendek2.

    Jadi kalo nemu komen panjang, gak usah liat sapa yang nulis, PASTI SILLY, hahahahahahahha... :D

    Thank God, saya udah punya temen. Yukss, tosh buat kalian berdua, hahahahaha... :D

    this is just so funny and interesting for me, :D

    Happy blogging pakdhe, semoga makin semangat.


  27. Bikin banner dong nduk, bunyinya "Long Comment and Reply Blogger"...:D. Kau nomer satu sekalian ketuanya, kan kau yang duluan, trus Windmill nomer dua, aku nomor tiga, Trisna kali mau jadi nomer empat he...he.... Ada yang mau gabung lagi gak ya?

  28. hahahaha.. lagi dibuatin pakdhe, kebetulan ada banyak pembaca blog silly yg orang IT, mereka mo buatin katanya. Sekalian mo dibikin banner "BLOGGER INSOMNIA" ama "BLOGGER AMNESIA", hahahaha... (ini bisa dipake siapa ajah yg mo annonimus seperti aku).

    Idenya bagus banget pakdhe, makasih yach. Btw, udah dikarantina di cibubur yach?... semoga sukses ya. Soal datang, hmmm, tgl 20 khan??... mosok ujug2 datang gak bawa invitation?... gak enak ahhh...

    Tapi coba liat gimana besoknya aja dech... Pokoknya sukses ajah lah untuk semua tim yach.


  29. @silly: Kalau insomnia aku keknya gak ikutan deh, secara belum parah-parah banget kek kamu nduk he...he...; kalau amnesia ya sedikit-sedikit nyerempet lah, terutama kalau itu nama orang.

    Sering ketika lagi bicara dan perlu menyebut nama seseorang, tiba-tiba pikiran ini kosong, gak inget nama orang itu blas, sampai gak malu2 nanya namanya sama yang bersangkutan, eh... nama kamu siapa sih? :D :D

    Banner-nya bikin yang warna dasar hitam juga ya nduk, biar kelihatan manis di TAP. Wis kasih tahu kalau udah jadi ya...

    Soal konser, lhah memang itu aselinya gak ada undangan koq nduk. Siapa saja diundang untuk datang, wong gak ditarik bayaran. Wis teko wae, sorak-sorak horeeeeeee.... :D

  30. this is very useful article.
    thanks very much

  31. @Sella: it's a pleasure my friend...

  32. Having Quality teachers will definitely produce quality students/people.

  33. Well, a quality teacher can forever change the life of ANY student, yes any student and it's very important to have the best teachers at the primary level because proper education to kids at that age provide a strong foundation for their future. I believe, authorities need to pay teachers highly than others and give them good benefits, treat them like any other big employee a corporate-company would treat. As if they get good salaries, it would create more desire from upcoming students to work on their teaching skills and become teachers. Not only give them good salaries but with that keep a strong check on them whether they're teaching correctly, how their behavior is towards students etc...

    A strong infrastructure, good management of resources and teachers and highly educated teachers, they'll do wonders for kids.