School service standards need diversification: Experts

11, Sep 2015 | Author: Embassy of Indonesia

Source : The Jakarta Post

Jakarta (Jakarta Post) —

Education experts called on the Culture and Education Ministry to create various sets of minimum service standards for elementary and junior high schools based on their region’s needs and culture.

The Education Sector Analytical and Capacity Development Partnership’s (ACDP) lead advisor on skills development, higher education and education governance, Abdul Malik, said that it was high time the ministry diversified the 27 minimum service standards first established in a 2010 ministerial regulation.

“We have to first ask: what are the minimum service standards for? The standards only really apply to around 90 percent of schools [nationwide]. Ten percent is a significant number and cannot be ignored and they must have their own standards. This encompasses most schools in remote areas,” he said on Wednesday.

The 27 minimum service standards, which were improved in Ministerial Regulation No. 23/2013, stipulates the provision of books, science labs and suitably qualified teachers for all students.

According to a survey by the EU titled the “2014 Status Quo Assessment”, only 26 percent of elementary schools and Islamic elementary schools out 12,980 schools in 110 regencies and municipalities fulfilled the minimum service standards.

Malik said that due to the country’s diverse cultural background, it only made sense that the children in each region had different educational needs that the ministry should proactively try to adapt to.

“For example, in remote areas such as Papua they could offer multi-subject teaching in which a school only has one teacher who is paid more because they teach different subjects or levels. [The minimum service standards] should also address one-roof schools where children from different levels all learn under one roof because of the remote location,” he said.

Meanwhile, John Strain, who is part of the EU and the Asia Development Bank’s (ADB) program to improve minimum service standards in Indonesia, said that regencies, municipalities and schools were overly focused on the indicators that required funds, such as infrastructure and facilities.

“There are indicators in the minimum service standards that do not need funds. Eleven of them do not need money,” he said.

The indicators include points such as a compulsory inspection by the province’s education agency every three months and the development of high-quality syllabuses based on the national curriculum by schools.

Strain also emphasized the importance of the role of parents in monitoring and assisting their children’s schools to fulfill and surpass the minimum service standards.

“For example, one of the indicators is that the schools must provide a school report to their students’ parents. Parents can demand such a thing if it is not provided as it is their right,” he said.

Separately, the ministry’s head of the policy research center under the research and development unit, Hendarman, agreed that the minimum service standards should be diversified as soon as possible to meet President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s goals of a 12-year compulsory education.

However, he said that much of the ministry’s research into the minimum service standards had stalled due to incomplete data provided by regency and municipal administrations.

“We have to encourage regencies and municipalities to work together [to improve the minimum service standards] because they are the ones that have the data. However, the question is whether they know what to do with that [data]? Oftentimes it is difficult to trace which [minimum service standard] indicators the [administration’s] education funds go to,” he said.

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