“Quo Vadis” Indonesian Education Roadmap 2020-2035
At a hearing with House of Representatives (DPR) on July 2, 2020, Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim explained his Indonesian Education Roadmap 2020-2035.
By Hafid Abbas
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At a hearing with House of Representatives (DPR) Commission X on July 2, 2020, Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim explained his Indonesian Education Roadmap 2020-2035.
The thrust of this roadmap is to instill in students Pancasila values to create people of faith devoted to the Almighty God that are of noble character, have insight into global diversity and can work together as independent, critical and creative thinkers. This roadmap seems to contain three main sections, namely the global trends and the future of learning; an overview of education in Indonesia and its challenges; and a roadmap for Indonesian education. The instrument that will be used to achieve this endeavor is Merdeka Belajar (Freedom of Learning, medcom.id, 2/7/2020).
If the main instruments of the Indonesian Education Roadmap (PJPI) are Merdeka Belajar and Merdeka Kampus, the following points can be considered as inputs.
Based on real problems
First, the PJPI must be based on the map of real problems in education management that have occurred so far. One of the problems is contemporary, as seen in the last few years: Amid a growing education budget, the quality of education has been decreasing.
While the funds allocated to education increased from Rp 444 trillion in the 2018 state budget to Rp 508 trillion in the 2020 budget, Indonesia\'s PISA ranking dropped from 65th place (2015) to 72nd (2018) among 77 countries. In fact, based on the global league table published by education firm Pearson (2012), the quality and system of Indonesia\'s education was rated the worst in the world. Likewise, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the quality of and access to education at all levels, types and paths of education could produce a so-called lost generation of young people.
Moreover, there are also educational problems that are acute in nature, always appearing from time to time. For example, the problem of low education quality is seen among 243,771 students of elementary schools, junior high schools and senior high schools/vocational schools. Up to 88.8 percent of them do not meet the minimum standard (2018). Out of 4,713 PTN state universities and private universities, only 96 have accreditation A, and only 1,676 have any accreditation at all, meaning that 64 percent can be considered illegal (Med com.id, 2/8/2020).
Another problem that needs to be answered in this PJPI is the lack of continuity in the application of an education policy. In the New Order era, for example, in various Cabinet periods, from the period of Mashuri, Soemantri Brodjonegoro, Syarief Thayeb, Daoed Joesoef, Nugroho Notosusanto, Fuad Hassan and Wardiman Djojonegoro to the education ministers in the era of President Jokowi, and now Nadiem Makarim, each of them has shaped the development of education in the country with innovative and strategic ideas.
However, these ideas seem to be sporadic and temporary in nature, receiving support limited only to the term of office of the related minister. It is possible that the ideas of Merdeka Belajar and Merdeka Kampus could experience the same thing, being temporary in nature, if they are not protected by a higher regulation.
If such realities are not addressed before implementing the Merdeka Belajar policy within the framework of the PJPI, it will be the same as building a multistory building on weathered foundations.
Path of the equalizer
Second, the preparation of the PJPI must make education the great equalizer and the glue of the nation\'s social cohesion. The Global Wealth Report (2016) shows that Indonesia has the fourth-worst level of socioeconomic inequality in the world after Russia, India and Thailand. Oxfam has shown that the assets of the four richest Indonesians are equivalent to the combined assets of 100 million poor people in Indonesia. Furthermore, the amount of money one of the richest people makes per year is sufficient to eradicate poverty in this country.
The gap seems to be widening, because the percentage of the rich has increased by 10 percent a year, while the poor have fallen only by one percent in four years (nusantaranews.co, 26/7/2018).
World Bank research shows that 88.8 percent of the potential for conflict in Indonesia originates from this gap. Source of conflict are the injustice of opportunities, the emergence of new skill requirements in the modern economy, the increasing concentration of financial wealth in the hands of small groups of the population and the absence of quality education for low-income citizens (Indonesia’s Rising Divide, 2016).
From an educational perspective, the socioeconomic gap actually stems from a "knowledge gap" that is generally widening between cities and villages, and between Java and other regions. The widening knowledge and skills gap is far more dangerous than the lack of financial balance between the regional and central administrations, because education is the only "equalizer route" that the poor and disadvantaged seek.
After 75 years of independence, it is still seen that, among 514 regencies and cities, only three places outside Java deserve to be called cities worthy of education or cities friendly to campus life, namely Medan, Denpasar and Makassar, because they already have three or four universities with high reputation (accreditation A). With this portrait, the management of education seems to have contributed to the widening social and economic disparities in the country.
In order to reduce this gap, the PJPI can also get a variety of valuable experiences on the management of education at the beginning of independence, in the New Order era, to the early Reform Era if it is considered relevant. The successful implementation of president Soeharto’s elementary school presidential instruction, for example, saw Indonesia obtain the Avicena Medal from UNESCO (1993), and three US economists (Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer) won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for adopting the elementary school model of the Soeharto era as a strategy to reduce global poverty.
Third, the preparation of the PJPI must be oriented toward the future to prepare young people who excel in global interaction. Awareness of excellence in global interaction must be rooted in local identities; schools, especially in villages, are the root of one\'s identity. Schools are the main window in the development of rural children into urban children, who later become children with regional and global insight.
Bung Karno said that internationalism could not thrive if it was not rooted in the land of nationalism.
Therefore, schools are a kind of "cultural broker" that match and balance children\'s awareness of the interrelationships and overlaps between local, provincial, national, regional and global aspects simultaneously. Therefore, schools must help their students spread their wings to fly to advanced civilizations with sufficient knowledge and skills to live in harmony, peace and dignity in global diversity in line with the values of Pancasila. Bung Karno said that internationalism could not thrive if it was not rooted in the land of nationalism.
Learning from other countries
Finally, the PJPI also needs to be prepared by utilizing the experiences of other nations that are considered to have succeeded in advancing the education of their nations. It seems that Finland, South Korea, the US and other developed countries prepare their education roadmaps by fixing aspects related to standardization, assessment, accountability, school improvement, teachers, and educational leadership, community support and financing.
Hopefully, one day, the management of education in this country can quickly get out of its various paradoxes and inequalities, achieve standardization and become an equalizer to address social inequality, so that, by 2035, Indonesia\'s education will be on par with that of neighboring ASEAN coutries.
HAFID ABBAS, Professor at Jakarta State University’s School of Education; Visiting Professor at Tsai Lecture Series, Harvard University 2006