Total Pageviews

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Indonesia's Contexts

The Economic Context

Indonesia’s GDP is increasing from 156.0 US$ Billion in 1993 to 173.0 US$ Billion in 2002 to 208.3 US$ Billion in 2003. However, Indonesia’s budget for education is quite low, that is around five percent of the National Budget and Expenditure. This is not only because it suffered economic crisis since 1997, but the rational is rather political (even before the crisis, it had been always low). For example, to ‘keep their people happy’, the government subsidised its fuel oil prices (up to September 2005).

With the recent high oil prices, the ‘policy’ appeared to have become disastrous, i.e. seeing Rp 130 trillion (US$13.2 billion, assuming exchange rate of $1 equals to Rp 9000) of the national budget or almost a third of the total spent on fuel oil subsidy (Antara, 2005). Meanwhile, the government and the House of Representatives had only allocated Rp 26.5 trillion for education (in 2005), despite National Constitution and Educational Law requiring a minimum 20 per cent (or at least Rp 56 trillion) of national and regional budgets and expenditure for education.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is also known as the country with the fifth highest external debt outstanding showing no slowing down. For instance, it increased from 136,088 US$ Million in 1997 to 141,695 US$ Million in 2000 to 132.763 US$ Million in 2003. If total debt/GDP is calculated, it shows data of 33.6 % in 1993, 76.5 % in 2002 and 64.5 % in 2003 respectively (World Bank, 2004b). Furthermore, the annual debt payments are around $0.9 billion or Rp 131 trillion (Jubilee, 2005).

In 2003, a third of Indonesia’s 2004 expenditure goes to debt payments (The Jakarta Post, 13th December 2003) while in 2004, that increased to 52 per cent of Indonesian total revenue (worth Rp 219.4 trillions) (WLHI, 2004). Indonesia has been indebted to IMF since 1997 with no significant progress ever since. In the light of the preceding data, it may seem impossible for Indonesia to pay more attention to its educational sector and other public services.

The Political Context

Indonesia formerly had an authoritarian and bureaucratic political system. Its modern political government and institutions still owe much to both Dutch and ‘traditional Javanese’ influence. Java’s traditions were adopted and enforced as the Indonesian traditions, values and cultures because of their numerical domination in Indonesian politics. Both President Soekarno and Soeharto addressed the problem of unity - since it is a multi racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country- by adopting an authoritarian system that lasted for 40 years (eight years and 32 years under each rule respectively’) (Wanadi, 2002). King (1982) states that the previous bureaucratic authoritarian regime was characterized by a high degree of corporatism. Instead of individual patron-client ties, various groups within the state as well as in society were collectively tied to the leaders of the state.

Furthermore, Pratikno (no date) adds that a highly centralised political structure had been developed in the name of national integration, political stability and economic development. Although unity and diversity (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika) was a dominant political slogan during that time, political arrangement had given no room for the emergence of competing powers outside Jakarta. Therefore, ‘local power was seen as a threat, subject to central government repression’ (p.3).

However, since 1998 Indonesia moved to more ‘democratic’ transition with the introduction of free press for the first time, decentralisation of authorities to lower governments since 2001, and having three presidents in four years as well as conducting the first direct presidential election in 2004. Although rapid change took place, the former practice and paradigm were not easy to transform. For instance, during the era of ‘dictatorship’, the education system was used as a political machine by the Golkar (Golongan Karya, Functionalist Group) Party. Thirty two years of authoritarian regime organised teachers and civil servants to support the Golkar Party’s bureaucratic government.

However, after the commencement of decentralisation since 2001, political parties – such as the ruling party PDIP (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan, Indonesian Democrat Party of Struggle) – still tried to use teachers and civil servants for their political end by, for example, using school meetings for their campaign of 2004 General Election (Pikiran Rakyat, 2003). This phenomenon above raises a key question: as the change of political landscape took place, has cultural transformation also taken place or has the same practice remained?

The Cultural Context

Looking at its huge cultural diversity, i.e. from Aceh in the West to Papua in East, the modern Indonesia could be described as a very diverse country. However, since 45 per cent of its population is Javanese (WIZ, 2005) and with Soeharto’s Javanese cultural underpinnings of 32-year New Order, consequently Indonesia has been masked by Javanese cultural domination. Soeharto used his own interpretation of Javanese culture – based largely obedience characteristics such as respect for seniors, conformity to hierarchical authority and avoidance of confrontation – to strengthen his bureaucratic and authoritarian regime.

Under circumstances like this, it is not surprising if it is hard for democracy to flourish.
The national education laws always were aimed to develop Indonesian citizens to be complete persons – religious, intelligent, healthy, democratic, independent, responsible, etc.

The National Education is aimed at elevating the intellectual life of the nation and to develop the complete Indonesian person, i.e. one who is devout and God fearing, with high morality, possessing knowledge and skill, who is physically and mentally healthy, who is of stable personality, independent and has a deep sense of responsibility towards the society and nation (Act or Law No 2, 1989).

….they become persons imbued with human values who are faithful and pious to one and only God; who possess morals and noble character; who are healthy, knowledgeable, competent, creative, independent; and as citizens, are democratic and responsible (Act No 20, Year 2003).

However, in reality, those ‘too idealistic’ goals were never achieved. In fact, Indonesia is known to be one of the most corrupt countries (Transparency International, 2002a, 2002b, 2005) with poor human rights record in the world (Human Right Watch, 2004).

Educational Resources Context

Ministry of National Education (MONE, locally known as Depdiknas) has limitations of expenditure on school facilities and maintenance, learning resources and human resources. For example, data showed that in 2000 the condition of primary school buildings throughout Indonesia was deteriorating, since 58 % of them were damaged, 23 % and 26 % of them were severe and minor respectively.

In 1999, the General Director of Primary and Secondary education, Indra Djati Sidi, also suggested that 65 % of all school buildings in Indonesia were damaged (Kompas, 2003a). Furthermore, MONE limitations also saw most learning resources from the centre ended up in warehouses of LEAs (district/local education authority, locally known as Disdik) or PEAs (provincial education authority, locally known as Disdikprov) due to lack of funding to distribute them to schools (Kompas, 2001). Unsurprisingly, only two per cent from almost 200,000 primary schools had sufficient library collections and learning resources (Kompas, 2000a).

As a result of decentralisation the MONE authority’s provision of textbooks was delegated to regional governments since 2003 (Sidi, 2003), however, the distribution of textbook block grants to schools was hampered by corruption (ICW, 2005). Essentially, that meant most pupils have to buy books on their own, mostly from their schools. Schools sold books because they received incentives from book publishers (Gunawan, 2002; Kompas, 2004a). According to the 2001 Annual Report of Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (ARSRRE), Indonesia students suffer greatly from a lack of qualified and committed teachers.

It reported that ‘today teaching is a low-paid and low-prestige profession’, showing eighty per cent of teachers have parallel jobs, a situation which is facilitated by the teaching time of 2.5 days and 15 weekly hours (Human Right Features, 2003). Furthermore, Kompas (2002a) found that teachers’ wages were also affected by various cuts, making their ‘take home pay’ actually lower than expected.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Indonesia Demographic Context

Indonesia Demographic Context

Indonesia is the biggest archipelago country in the world, consisting of 17,508 islands and nearly 6,000 of them are inhabited. It is prone to a variety of natural disasters, such as earthquake, volcanic eruptions and flood. It is also the fourth most populous country after China, India, and the United States (231,328,092 million in 2002). This former Dutch, European and Japanese colony has recently more than 400 regencies (rural districts) and municipalities (autonomous cities), 32 provinces, and 350 ethic groups.

Its educational system has to manage 43 million pupils, 2.6 million teachers, and 260,000 schools across the country (ICoE, 2004). It recently experienced rural – urban migration as the country’s agriculture-based economy moved to late industrialisation with side effects like overcrowded schools and over supplied teachers in urban areas and multi-graded classes in rural areas.

Furthermore, Indonesia completed universal six-year basic education (USYBE) in 1984, and self-committed to universal nine-year basic education (UNYBE) programme since 1994. Initially, the UNYBE had proved to be successful in increasing the number of primary and lower secondary school students (from 36.44 million in 1994 to 39 million in 1997). However, it decreased slowly since 1998, as Indonesia faced prolonged economic crisis, saw the drop out rate soar from two per cent before the crisis to six per cent after the crisis began (Dursin, 2001). Of 25 million primary school pupils enrolled, only 72.12 % of them finished and continued to lower secondary schools and while 670,000 of them were drop-outs (MONE’s 2000/2001 data cited in Hidayatullah, 2001).

This high drop out rate is due to a wide range of problems, ranging from inability to pay school and parental participation fees, to gender bias to conflicts and natural disasters. Data shows significant gender gaps in school dropout rates at primary and lower and upper secondary schools. According to Asian Economic News (2003) girls are more likely to drop out of school than boys for many reasons – from bans by parents to continue their studies to give a better chance to the boys, to early marriages due to conservative views that girls will land in the kitchen anyway. Not surprisingly, nearly 20% of women are illiterate compared with less than 10% of men. Data taken from ten provinces by the Department of Social Affairs also showed that of dropout children above, 41,000 of them became street children (Hidayatullah, 2001).

The recent quality of education is declining due to its former centralised management system and recent economic crisis. A Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) in 2001 placed Indonesia second to last out of the twelve Asian countries surveyed, below Vietnam. In the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2004 Report on Human Development Index, in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income, Indonesia was also ranked at 111 out of 177 countries surveyed; below other ASEAN countries such as Singapore (25), Brunei (33), Malaysia (59), Thailand (76), Philippines (83), but above indo-Chinese countries (ICoE, 2004).

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Teacher Education in Indonesia

In the Indonesian teacher education is provided by teacher institutions (teacher colleges or universities) and their in-service training is conducted by teacher training centres – locally known as BPG (Balai Pelatihan Guru, Teacher Training Centres) or PPPG (Pusat Pengembangan Penataran Guru, Teacher Training and Development Centre) (Note: recently it is known as Lembaga Penjamin Mutu Pendidikan or LPMP).

Teacher education is also seen as a formal educational process which is intended to ensure that the behaviour of prospective teachers matched those of “effective” teachers. Therefore, rigorous entry requirements are one key to ensuring that teachers have the knowledge and skills to help their students meet high standards (McAllister, 2003). However, it is difficult to achieve, especially, if the system has a shortage of teachers. During rapid educational expansion in the 1970-1980s many Indonesian primary and lower secondary prospective teachers were taught only in specialist lower and upper secondary schools (locally known as SPG or Sekolah Pendidikan Guru, Secondary School of Teachers). In this period, about ten thousand new classrooms were opened every year, and the government along with development agencies such as the World Bank established SPGs throughout the country in order to fulfil the need (Nielsen, 2003).

Furthermore, teacher education and training not only are classified as among the crucial determinants of school effectiveness and student achievement (Fuller, 1986) but also are perceived as central in any process of educational change (Davies, 2002). The literature also indicates that robust teacher preparation could help developing teachers’ understanding of learning philosophies, theories and principles, which, in turn, affects their pedagogical practice and students’ learning (Alexander et al, 1996; Gage, 1985). However, the effectiveness of this ‘teacher preparation’ in supporting teachers coping with work and reform process depends on its design and delivery (Schweisfurth, 2002: 32). If the design and delivery were ill initiated, the goals are certainly unachievable.

For instance, at the end of the expansion period of 1970-80s, MOEC’s official study on teacher competence showed that only 45 percent of a random sample of SPG-trained teachers could pass the science test given to the primary school completers (MOEC, 1990). In addition, the teachers were also found unable to use science equipment properly by claiming that they were not trained to do so and had no sufficient time to do experiments (Jiyono, 1986). Another study also found that teaching methods were seriously flawed, asserting that the average teacher failed to employ basic pedagogical tools such as clarifying learning objectives, explaining new concepts clearly, giving examples, stimulating thinking through appropriate questioning, and providing feedback on test results (Djalil, 1988).

"The World Bank Basic Education Study: Indonesia" concluded its section on teacher preparation with the following gloomy assess­ment:

"Pre-service training has relied upon inappropriate lecture methods and has provided insufficient opportunities for students to practice teaching skills. De­spite tremendous efforts in recent years to improve SPG curricula and materi­als, pre-service teacher training is isolated from the realities of primary class­rooms and teacher trainers are usually not themselves trained in primary methods". (World Bank, 1989 quoted in Nielsen, 2003)

Literature on teacher professionalism, for instance Goodson and Cole (1994: 88), suggest that one’s professional identity is influenced by factors and conditions inside and outside the teachers. Furthermore, in order to make the teachers become professional, Goodlad et al., (1990) suggest that it is important to have three criteria: (1) possessing a large degree of talent and skill; (2) using a body of knowledge that support their work; and (3) having the autonomy to make decisions that marry skills with knowledge.

However, it seems that many Indonesian teachers could hardly be ‘categorised’ as professional since they inherited personal, institutional and policy related problems, because (1) many prospective teachers entered the profession not because they possessed talent and skills of teaching, but rather were ‘forced’ by personal and financial conditions, such as inability to enter their expected majors in university or failed to find good jobs in the market, (2) many teacher institutions (SPG in the past, IKIP/universities and BPG/PPPG at the present) were operating in poor quality; and (3) teachers had superficial autonomy and struggled to balance between targets and their actual capacity to do their job. Therefore, the argument that professional teachers must be effective in their jobs (Stodolsky and Grossman, 2000) cannot be realised if the inherited problems above are not alleviated.

Furthermore, after a long period concentrating on expansion rather than quality, in the 1990s, the Indonesian government finally ‘committed itself’ to emphasizing the quality of teachers’ professional development, for example, by phasing out its SPG programmes for prospective primary teachers and replacing them with a two-year post-secondary diploma programme (Diploma II) and increasing the secondary teacher education standard to bachelor degree. During this period, hundreds of thousands of both practising and prospective teachers had to study in teacher colleges and universities to get their ‘professionalism’ improved and to get their certificates for the teaching profession.

However, the movement was rather focussed on the improving the teachers’ qualifications, not the quality (Nielsen, 2003). Many believed that the government’s efforts to improve teacher education (and training) were designed and delivered rather to achieve ‘project-oriented’ goals than genuinely to improve their knowledge and skills (Mawardi, 2004). The ‘project oriented programme’ locally is perceived negative by the Indonesian since it refers to creating a perfunctorily programme which prioritised on quantitative targets, such as getting the project done as quick as possible, without considering the quality of it, such as lack of control measurement.

In addition, this practice was worsened by the lack of administrative capacity to handle large scale reforms in the centre, which left a small number of senior administrators initiating, implementing and supervising the huge numbers of projects; it was almost impossible for them to ensure the quality control of their projects. In fact, hundreds of thousands of teachers were actually going through an upgrading course that had been acknowledged to be poor in quality (Nielsen, 2003). The result of this was not that surprising. For example, MONE’s official study in five provinces, for instance, showed that only 42.71 percent of a random sample of secondary teachers could pass the competence test (MONE, 2001b). These results showed the effectiveness of the teacher preparation was far from expected since its design and delivery were poor and not genuinely made to improve their knowledge and skills.
Since decentralization began in 2001, the central government’s policy regarding teacher education and training remained unchanged.

In 2002, a new model of teacher in-service training was launched ‘emphasising’ the teachers’ quality. The so called competence-based integrated training programme focused on combining a wide range of knowledge and skills needed by teachers to achieve the teacher competence into single, integrated training. Slamet (2002), one of the programme’s designers, suggested that this model would be more effective and efficient than those in the past which were regarded as partial and isolated in order to form an intact teachers’ competence. However, little is known about whether this training model has succeeded to achieve its goals.

During decentralization, there was also a tendency that local governments did not prioritize teachers’ education and professional development in their education related policies. This could be traced from the perception that there were only a small number of partnership programmes, aimed at professional development, among schools, higher education institutions and other appropriate entities, since decentralisation (Supriyoko, 2002b). Supriyoko suggests that recent low educational quality relates to the teachers’ insufficient opportunities to follow further qualification programme, training, seminars and workshops. Unsurprisingly, during decentralisation, data suggests that teachers’ unqualified and under trained cases remained high. MONE recent data showed that from 137,069 pre-school teachers, only 12,929 of them or 9.43 per cent were qualified to teach. Similarly, qualified teachers were only 50.67 per cent out of 625,710 primary teachers, 64.08 per cent out of 299,105 lower secondary teachers, and 63.02 per cent out of 377.673 upper secondary teachers (Suyanto, 2004).

Meanwhile, at the institution level, LEA and school’s bureaucratic and authoritarian system also hindered the teachers’ professional development. For instance, in my own personal experience it was not uncommon to find cases such as many practicing teachers who taught for many years without having a single training since recruitment, while some had different types of training because of bribing the LEA’s officials to get included the programme. Some the head teachers also had prevented some teachers to follow the programme due to ‘fear of rivalry’ for their leadership position at schools.

Teacher’s Status in Indonesia

Historically, Indonesian teachers have always been burdened by targets, policy changes and educational reforms from governments. One of the consequences of these continuous changes was degradation of the professional status, which left the profession considered a second rate, stressful, and unattractive walk of life. During the colonialism era, often perceived as the Golden Era of Indonesian teachers (Tilaar, 2001, Fatoni, 2005), the teachers - locally renowned as ‘guru‘ or noble and wise being - enjoyed high, sacramental status and, therefore, became the natural leaders in society (Tilaar, 2001). The gurus were even positioned as one of three highly respectable positions in the previous society: ‘guru, leader and elderly’ (Dananjaya, 2000).

The teaching profession was perceived to play an important role in promoting societal emancipation, humanizing society and constructing personal and national characters. Therefore, candidates for teaching were those who had high academic record in their previous study level and were trained in high profile teachers’ institutions. Teachers also received a high salary, twice what a doctor could earn (Tokoh Indonesia, 2004). Also their teaching profession could earn them better status or position in the society, for example, Indonesian first President, Soekarno, and Indonesian Prime Minister, Mohammad Natsir, used to be teachers before gaining their political power in the country (Adiartanto, 2002).

Although education was primarily used as a means for preparing skilled manpower for colonial government’s needs to run the country and its apparatus of production, however, Indonesian teachers also used education for educating indigenous people and promoting independence awareness among them. For instance, in the early 1920s some nationalistic and religion based schools (Taman Siswa or Students’ Garden schools and Muhammadiyah schools) were operating, and the teachers, especially at Taman Siswa schools, set their own curriculum by combining subjects from European schools (e.g. mathematics, geography, history, natural science) with Indonesian culture related subjects (e.g. language, literature, social custom and arts) (Bray and Thomas, 1998:14). It is obvious that during the colonial era, the teachers had the highest power their professions have had in Indonesian history.

In contrast, when the New Order governments came to power, the teaching status of teachers severely declined. The needs for national development such as preparing citizens and skilled manpower through universal basic education expansion, which required the training of a large number of teachers most in short time, led to the reduction of the standard of entry requirements for the teaching profession (Tilaar, 2001). This, in turn, declined the status of teachers as the teaching profession became a second rate job and those who entered teacher colleges were those who failed to get places in common institutions or failed to get employment they expected in the job markets. The remuneration the teachers received was also poor; they had to have second or third jobs or held demonstrations or strikes demanding for salary increase before parliament office in order to survive (Adiartanto, 2002).

Furthermore, their autonomy, professionalism and pedagogy were tightly controlled by the state through national curriculum and assessment, state legislation and government targets, and so on. The most dismaying fact, perhaps, is that teachers’ status became next to nothing since political oppression almost wrote off their great influence they used to have in the past.

Dananjaya, 2000 describes it as follows:
"… teachers became political assets …who were mobilised to support the ruling regime. This was systematically politicization that made even the most critical teachers lose their minds. Teachers became impotent and lost their creative energy. Teachers became submissive and spread their virus of self submission to the ruler’s power. Their self pride slumped dramatically, their charisma was weak. They lost their self esteem and lost their self pride of their profession. If there was sympathy for teachers, it was not given because of their professionalism, but rather a pity for to their unfortunate destiny".

Belajar dari reformasi pendidikan di Inggris (2002)

(Dicomot dari milis pribadi tahun 2002...)

Membaca berita pendidikan di tanah air tentang target Mendiknas untukmenaikan posisi Indonesia dari ranking 16 ke 10 se-Asia Pasific ditahun 2004, saya ada rasa2 senang dan ada rasa2 skeptis juga.Senangnya kalo hal itu bisa terlaksana berarti kabar yang baik buatdunia pendidikan kita. Karena ada harapan bahwa perhatian pemerintahterhadap mutu anak didik dan SDM kita akan meningkat. Karena adatarget, berarti akan ada usaha khan begitu. Entah akan ada perbaikankurikulum atau perbaikan kesejahteraan guru, yang pasti akan adausaha kearah perbaikanlah.

Malah kalau melihat email tentang kegiatanter kini Depdiknas yang diforward-kan Pak Fatur (Note: Fahturahman, project planner di Depdiknas) kepada milis kita (Note: milis warta-pendidikan, sekarang sudah di hapus!) , seperti sedang berlangsungnya: piloting project terhadap kurikulumberbasis kompetensi dan program life skills di beberapa daerah, adanya pelatihan berbasis kompetensi, disusunnya kompetensi dasar buat kepsek, guru dan tenaga kependidikan lainnya serta diadakannya bahan ajar kontektual learning, kita secara jelas bisa `membaca' keseriusan pihak Depdiknas terhadap proses reformasi pendidikan. Namun bila melihat target tahun yang dipatok sangatlah mepet, saya menjadi sedikit skeptis. Dalam arti meragukan apa mampu dengan waktuyang sesingkat itu dan program2 yang sudah ada target Pak Malik (Note: Malik Fajar - Mendiknas waktu itu) tersebut bisa tercapai? Darimana dana mencapai target tsb bisa diperoleh sementara dana APBN buat pendidikan masih kurang dari 20%?

Saya malah berpikir barangkali program reformasi tsb ada baiknya daripada `diset' harus tercapai pada kurun waktu tertentu (pendek) lebih baik bersifat menyeluruh (jangka panjang), yang penting bersifat `sustainable' dan berkelanjutan saja. Karena kita sudah pernah mengalami `trauma' akan istilah `proyek', yang terjemahannya `mengejar tujuan jangka pendek' tanpa ada usaha `maintenance' terhadap kelanjutan hasil yang dicapai. Pertanyaanya kalau (ini secara positifnya aza) target 2004 itu tercapai, apa sudah sampai disitu saja target dunia pendidikan kita? Dan bagaimana kalau tidak tercapai? Siapa yang akan bertanggungjawab menanggung kegagalannya? Wah ini saya tidak tahu jawabannya. Maka saya lebih baik berbicara masalah reformasi terkini di Inggris saja…hehehe. Lebih aman…dan mungkin ada pelajaran yang bisa dipetik (Mungkin ada yang konteks yang sejenis dengan permasalahan di Tanah Air).

PM Tony Blair dan counsellor (menteri keuangan) Gordon Brown, baru saja mengumumkan 2002 Budget atau APBN-nya Inggris April ini. Seperti layaknya hal yang serupa di berbagai negara, semua media massa menyoroti masalah kenaikan anggaran buat mereformasi NHS scheme (program Asuransi kesehatan-nyaInggris memberi jaminan kesehatan gratis untuk semua warga tanpa kecuali) yang dianggarkan sampai 40-an billion pounds hingga 2007. Yang menjadi kecaman lawan2 politiknya adalah, reformasi tsb dilakukan dengan cara menaikan pajak kontribusi National Insurance (namanya sih asuransi untuk pembiayaan pelayanan nasional/negara untuk para warganya - tetapi pada hakekatnya adalah 'pajak' tambahan para pekerja), yang tentu saja membuat upset para tax-payers (sudah capek2 kerja, pendapatannya dikurangi lagi). Ada yangbilang partai Labour sudah `breaking their promises' kepada pada pemilihnya (biasalah politisi - umbar janji dulu saat kampanye - terus 'pura2' lupa saat sudah menduduki jabatan), mengingat dia pernah berjanji tidak ada kenaikan pajak dipemilu nasional th lalu.

Tapi Tony & Brown berkilah, kalau tidak `dengan menaikan pajak' bagaimana mungkin reformasi NHS dan lainnya bisa terlaksana sesuai harapan masyarakat banyak.Yang sedikit tidak tercover besar2an oleh massa disini, ternyata juga ada reformasi dibidang kesehatan tersebut bergandengan dengan kenaikan anggaran buat `schools and universities' juga. Tony Blair menekannya pentingnya pemerintah mempertahankan prinsip pentingnyakeberhasilan sektor ini, dengan mantra: education, education, education. Malah ada rumus, kegagalan di bidang pendidikan bisa menghancurkan agenda pemerintah secara keseluruhan. Dengan adanya kenaikan anggaran sekitar 20 billion tahun ini, maka budget yang dikeluarkan untuk membiayai pendidikan per siswa juga meningkat. Dari £1,000/ siswa di th 1996/7 menjadi £2,700 buat sekolah dasar dan £ 3,700 buat secondary.

Apakah reformasi ini benar2 `tulus' untuk `perbaikan rakyat', masih banyak meragukannya. Mengingat tgl 2 Mei ini,Inggris khan melakukan Pemilu lokal untuk memilih MP (member of parliament) barunya. Ada kesan ini merupakan `trick politik' untuk peolehan suara buat partai Labour semata. Namun kebijakan kenaikan anggaran yg luar biasa tsb tidak menyurutkan kritik dari masyarakat. Mengingat banyak permasalahan pendidikan yang tidak bisa diselesaikan hanya dengan `sekadar kenaikan anggaran' dan `resep jitu' atau `panacea' dari pusat/ pemerintah semata.

Masalah semakin tingginya tingkat kenakalan remaja justru semakinmemprihatinkan. Bayangkan saja Home secretary, David Blankett, mensinyalir jalan2 di Inggris sudah tidak aman lagi, mengingat semakin meningkatnya kasus pencurian, perusakan dan perampokan yang kebanyakan dilakukan oleh kalangan `anak muda'. (Note: dari catatan tidak resmi saya selama tahun 2002 - 2004, sudah 3 orang Indonesia yang kerampokan di jalan serta 2 rumah - termasuk rumah saya yang kecurian, terutama menjelang Christmas dan New Year). Belum lagi masalah kecanduan obat dan ganja (cannabis dilegalkan oleh UU) yang lebih dari 50% dari anak2 muda usia 16 – 24 th mengaku mengkonsumsinya. (Jadi ingat ada berita anak usia 5 th mengkonsumsi narkoba di USA minggu lalu). Ini belum ditambah lagi tingkat aborsi remaja Inggris yang konon tertinggi diantara negara2 Eropa lainnya.

Singkatnya masalah moral generasi (bangsa Inggris) belakangan ini, sudah pada tahap memprihatinkan. Belum lagi meningkatnya kasus `unruly pupils in classrooms' yang membuat NUT (PGRI-nya/teacher union terbesar di Inggris) sampai2 meminta dibuatkan peraturan hukum (legal protection) yang akan melindungi para guru dari ancaman, agresi dan gangguan dari paramurid-nya di kelas. Anak2 dari tingkat nursery (pra sekolah/TK) hingga anak2 cacat/ terbelakang yang `menyerang' guru dengan pensil/pena dan `kata2' (swearing), termasuk diantara kasus yang dikatagorikan disruptive behaviours yang diusulkan harus ditindak. Ini menjadi dilemma para guru, mengingat `corporal punishment' atau hukuman fisik/ badan seperti cane atau cambuk kecil di tahun 1960an sudah tidak diperkenankan dilakukan di sekolah2 di Inggris (Note: Kalo di Indo, guru melotot aja murid sudah takut).

Pemerintah akhirnya berencana akan mengeluarkan peraturan keras yang isinya dapat menghukum dan mendenda para orangtua yangmemiliki anak2 yang katagori `bermasalah' seperti itu. Selanjutnyaanak2 tersebut akan dikatagorikan `sin bins' tersebut, harus dipisahkan dari teman2nya yang masih `baik'. Ide ini menurut polling-sudah 63% ditolak dan 37% menerima. Sekolah akhirnya akan meminta biaya tambahan sebesar 10 pounds kepada parents untuk mewujudkan ide tersebut.Malah ada ide (yang disodorkan diilhami oleh peristiwa September11th) untuk memberikan tugas tambahan para guru2 di kelas untuk menginformasikan anak2 yang memiliki bakat merusak. Menurut penelitian (bisa diragukan validity-nya), perilaku anak2 seusia dini -dari usia 3 th (reception/nursery) – sudah bisa diramalkan apakah akan menjadi `anak2 baik2' atau sebaliknya `anak bermasalah'. Bila ditemukan kasus yang demikian, maka anak2 tersebut akan diberikan `treatment' yang berbeda. (Wah, wah,wah sampai segitunya).

Untuk men-tackle masalah ini pula, akan ada program khusus yang akan diberikan kepada orang tua dan para calon orang tua (mungkin sasarannya kepada orangtua yang sedang mengandung dan atau yang belum menikah tapi punya pasangan) untuk mengikuti `program bagaimana menjadi orang tua yang baik'. Karena disinyalir ada pendapat (hasil penelitian juga) bahwaanak2 bermasalah tersebut berasal dari keluarga yang bermasalah pula. Juga perilaku anak bersumber dari perilaku social dimana dia tinggal, anak2 hanya mengadopsi saja. Dst…dll. (nggak saya teruskan). Wah, wah kalo di Inggris yang relatively peradabannya (ngakunya) lebih maju aja begitu bagaimana dengan yang masih primitif ya?

Saya cuma bisa berdoa dan berharap semoga kejadian itu tidak menyebar sampai ke kampung saya di pedalaman Kalimantan sana. Karena masih ada orang2 yang baik dan memiliki moral yang kuat. Entah kalo ada yang sudah merasa ikut2an bangsa Inggris, ya…..

Birmingham,25 April 2002

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year

New Year 2006 has come! as well as new plans, ideas and hopes ... I left 2005 with struggling to balance between my study and work. Although it seems that the year saw my study reached its anti climax stage, while other was business as usual...

A teacher from Samarinda, East Borneo.