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PART III  PROSPECT S

11. Policy directions for the future

It has been the basic policy of the Indonesian government emanating from the constitutional obligation to provide education for all Indonesian citizens. For this, the policy for educational expansion is still the basic one. Based on this policy, Indonesia keeps increasing the participation rate of primary school children from 92.02% in 1990 to 94.98% in 1996, and literacy rate from 79.86% in 1990 to 85.34% in 1996. In line with this policy, the government in facing the economic crisis, since July 1997, has tried hard to prevent students from dropping-out and provided out-of-school children to get equivalency program through out-of-school educational program by providing scholarships for children from the poor families, and providing learning fund for out-of-school children that attend equivalency programs. However, it is recognized that an expansion policy which has been successful in making almost all primary school-age children get primary education does not automatically fulfill the demands of basic learning needs as mentioned in the World Declaration on Education for All (March, 1990), or even the educational demands of Indonesia to make the education system functioning effectively (March, 1989), that is to make those who have accomplished basic education be able to survive, to develop their full capacities, to live and work in dignity, to participate fully in development, to improve the quality of their lives, to make informed decisions, and to continue learning.

The main problem we are facing with regard to making equity be balanced with quality is the limited budget to support the provision of basic educational facilities and learning materials as well as the provision of basic salaries for the educational personnel properly demanding them to be committed professionally and morally for the improvement of the quality of education demanded through the fulfillment of basic learning needs. Due to this condition the practice of education in developing countries including Indonesia, learners are mostly experienced boring learning process through rote learning where the teacher or/and tutors use to teach in limited time and limited/poor educational environment. With this type of learning process we cannot expect the goals of education as stated in many UNESCO documents, such as "World Declaration on Education for All" and "Learning: The Treasure Within", can be achieved.

For this very reason Indonesia tried to develop various programs to make Education for All be more meaningful for the learners and for the society in its development process. The following programs are cases that Indonesia try to develop further.

a. Early Childhood Development

Recognizing the importance of school readiness of the preschool children in determining the quality of education from the side of the learners, Indonesia since 1998 started a pilot project on early child development. The project is aiming at providing favorable environment for children from 0 to 6 years of age in health, nutrition and psycho-social development (intellectual, emotional, and social stimulation). At the pilot stage, this project includes three provinces, West Java, Bali, and South Sulawesi. This project, that managed cooperatively by three agencies, Ministries of Education, Health, Population, and local government financed by the World Bank loan of 21.5 millions US Dollars. It is expected that when the economic crisis is over the idea will be disseminated to include more provinces, and eventually will cover the whole of 27 provinces of Indonesia.

b. Functional Literacy Movement

When literacy rate has reached 87% of the 10 years of age and above, this rate will be very hard to increase. One of the factors influencing this situation is the many literate people who became illiterate after leaving the learning group. This seems to be due to irrelevant nature of the learning materials to the learning needs of the learners for their survival as well as for their need to improve the quality of life. To improve this condition since 1996 with the help of the World Bank expert and in cooperation with Asian/Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO, Japan (ACCU), Indonesia has started developing reading and learning materials more relevant to the learning needs of the learners. For this, we are upgrading local staff to be able to work with the learners to develop and write reading/learning materials relevant to their interests and needs. It is expected that through this model, the learners will find the sense of becoming literate for the improvement of their quality and lives.

c. Community-based Education and Community Learning Centers

Recognizing that unless education is relevant to the societal needs, understood, and supported by the community, education will not be meaningful to the people and therefore its functions in the community will not be attained effectively as expected. For this, Indonesia tried to develop an approach known as Community-Based Education. This approach is to be implemented through an out-of-school education program through the development of Community Learning Centers. These centers, start with about 360 sites, act as community education centers serving community members that do not have a chance to attend schools, that need to master functional and marketable skills to improve their quality of lives and other functions of continuing education. It is understood that in many cases rural areas are poor areas. This is due to the lack of knowledge and information, limited competencies, lack of achievement motivation, and lack of self confidence of the people to change and progress. For this very reason, the availability of continuing education programs that can upgrade community members to fulfill their basic learning needs is very important and urgently need to be provided. This program now is encouraged by the government as a part of national program to alleviate poverty.

d. Social Safety Net Programs in Education

As has been mentioned, in facing economic crisis to prevent school children from dropping-out due to the economic factors the government launched a program known as Social Safety Net providing scholarships to primary, secondary school and university students from poorest families in the whole of Indonesia, providing block grants to schools in poor areas for running the schools during this economic crisis and providing budget to support the implementation of equivalency programs for school-age children (primary and lower secondary schools) who financially are not able to attend the regular school programs, as well as providing more scholarships for secondary school students’ drop-outs to attend skill training courses.

e. School-Based Management

As a part of the planning for improving the quality of education, Indonesia recognizes that unless the schools are being managed efficient and effectively, we cannot expect that the program will achieve its goals and targets. For this, improving the quality of the school personnel to be capable of managing the school properly is of crucial importance. This is indeed very urgent considering the trend that decentralizing education up to the district level is very soon going to need the support of this policy by the readiness of each school to manage the school program efficiently and effectively.

f. Standardization of Community Skill Training Program

Community skill training center has become one of the strategic characteristics of the Indonesian education system. These continuing education programs are initiated and managed by private organizations and the business community who are active in serving the educational needs of the community. The clients of this programs are individuals, the graduates of various levels and types of education, drop-outs, employees, as well as housewives. The types of programs offered include various trades and specialization from sewing, hair-dressing, up to management and banking. These programs are so flexible in nature in responding to the societal and job market demands. The World Bank saw this as a very strategic educational effort that can satisfy the educational needs of the community in a fast changing time. The Ministry of Education and Culture in particular is making serious efforts in this endeavor.

g. Armed Forces Civic Mission to Combat Illiteracy

After literacy rate achieved the level of 86% it is difficult to find and organize learning groups due to thinly scattered illiterate people, mostly in remote areas and isolated places as well as in poor areas in urban neigbourhood. To identify and organize the illiterates efficiently and effectively into the learning groups, the Ministry of Education and Culture recognizes that it is impossible for the Ministry alone to manage effectively. For this very reason since 1995 Indonesa launched a joint effort among Ministries of Education and Culture, Religious Affairs, Home Affairs, and the Armed Forces to combat illiteracy with the personnel of the Armed Forces supporting the mobilization and operation of the program especially for the illiterates in the remote and isolated areas.

h. Positioning School and Educational Institutions as an Agent of Socializing

Competencies, Values, and Attitudes of Modern Society in Developing Nation

Efforts to achieve the goals of Education for All have been launched by developing countries. It is understood that these efforts can automatically contribute significantly to the advancement of the society, especially in terms of social welfare and standard of living through economic development efforts. After decades the programmes have been launched and made progress in terms of equity as shown by the high rate of school participation and higher rate of literacy, as experienced by Indonesia and many other developing countries, almost no significant indicator that shows that this progress has contributed to strengthening the economic conditions of many developing countries in the era of globalization. The basic question is why education as it is now operated by many developing nations cannot contribute to the development the nations? It appears that in the era of global economy controlled by market fundamentalism, the world has been fully controlled by western civilization that has been cultivated and developed for centuries that eventually internalized into the personality system of every person in the western hemisphare but these values are still apart from people of the South and the East.

In this regard the practice of education in most developing countries has been no more than transferring information in a very traditional way in the context of society that is still being controlled by the traditional value system. It is the team’s conviction that unless education is conceived as a socialization process, education will never be able to carry-out its mission to implement the four pillars of learning (learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together), and will also be incapable of satisfying the basic learning needs of the people as stated in the World Declaration on Education for All proclaimed in March 1990 from Jomtien, Thailand.

The basic problem of developing nations is that the government has been bearing the burden for managing and financing almost all development sectors. In this era of global economy the government tends to forget that to have strong economic system and to be able to sustain economic development besides capital, and technology, the quality of manpower is the main determinant. However, in practice many governments in developing countries due to being spoiled by imported capital, technology, and foreign experts forget the task for preparing the qualified manpower. This task, that supposed to be carried out by the education system, is carrying out only based on whatever fund available as the residue of budget spent for other sectors of economic development. Thus, in many developing nations the importance of education has only become a part of rhetoric of political leaders’ speeches but not so seriously the concern of development program. For this very reason, the team has a view that unless meaningful budget (4% of GNP) be provided for education, the goal of education for all and the implementation of the four pillars of learning will only end with rhetoric.


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