Seminar Universitas PGRI Semarang, semnas_2015

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TEACHER DEPLOYMENT AND THE CHALLENGE OF SMALL SCHOOLS IN INDONESIA (A study of the distribution of primary school teachers in 23 Indonesian districts)

Last modified: 2015-06-15


The problem of uneven teacher deployment has long been recognized in Indonesia. With an overall ratio of approximately one teacher to 16 primary school students (1:13 in junior-secondary), there is a substantial oversupply of teachers. However, these are poorly distributed. Urban schools are commonly overstaffed while schools in rural and isolated areas are understaffed. This situation creates inefficiencies within the system and penalizes poor and marginalized communities. The end result is a disparity in education quality between schools, and an overall constraint to quality improvement. A joint Five Minister Edict was issued in 2011, requiring all districts to redistribute teachers evenly and according to need. The edict was issued by the Ministers of Education, Religious Affairs, Finance, Home Affairs and State Bureaucracy. Although this regulation required the redistribution to be implemented by end of 2013, few districts have fully complied. The major challenges to implementation include limited capacity, rigid regulations governing teacher deployment, vested political interests and local resistance. Teachers and their spouses (many of whom are civil servants) commonly provide a political support base for local politicians and are rewarded with attractive placements. In addition, districts lack the capacity to accurately map teacher distribution or conduct analysis to determine policy solutions. The USAID-funded PRIORITAS project developed and implemented a teacher deployment program known as Penataan dan Pemerataan Guru (PPG) in an initial sample of 23 districts in 2013-2014. The study is best described as mixed-method, multiple-site action research. It was an applied research exercise, funded by an international donor and conducted by a team of consultants working with partners from local governments, partner universities and province-level education quality assurance agencies (LPMP), with the aim of improving teacher deployment in Indonesian primary schools. The analysis of teacher needs was based on minimum service standards and requirements of the national curricula (2006 and 2013). Using the national education database (DAPODIK), the team mapped teacher distribution, developed policy solutions, conducted public consultations (multi-stakeholder forums) and is supporting implementation in these districts. The program has since been expanded to 52 districts and a national policy dialogue is underway. Results from the initial sample of 23 districts were collated at national level and are summarized in this paper. While the PPG program addressed teacher deployment in junior secondary and primary schools, the focus of this paper is limited to state primary schools. Substantial disparities in the adequacy of teacher deployment were found in all districts, between schools, between sub-districts and between specialist subjects. Two main strategic issues emerged: uneven teacher distribution and small schools. The policy solutions vary depending on local contexts. These include school mergers, multi-grade teaching, incentives for remote placements, mobile teachers, teacher transfers, and retraining teachers to enable them to teach different subjects or levels. Such policies have the potential to greatly improve the quality of education throughout the country by ensuring that schools are properly staffed, improving equity, and improving system efficiency, releasing funds for quality improvement. The recently installed Minister for Education and Culture has declared three priorities for reforming education: improving teacher quality, improving teacher deployment and improving teacher welfare. In the national development plan (RPJMN) approved by the President in April 2015, the government recognized the importance of multi-grade for small schools, along with multi-subject teachers, school mergers, and a number of other approaches to address the problems of uneven teacher deployment. This is expected to be translated into Ministry policy and will probably appear in the Ministry’s five-year strategic plan (renstra), currently being prepared.

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