School teacher Tri Rahayu, 47, was glued to her laptop while learning to make a PowerPoint presentation at SD Lenteng Agung 9 state elementary school in South Jakarta. A trainer later approached and helped her overcome her confusion.
“I am old so I struggle with stuff like this,” Tri said while looking intensively at her monitor.
Tri was among 13 teachers at the school participating in a weekly computer course initiated by the school management. The teachers were enthusiastic about attending the computer lessons not just because it was a government requirement but more importantly because they taught students who were very familiar with the technology.
School principal M. Yasin said that such training was necessary to improve the skills of teachers, particularly those who had passed the teacher certification process.
“I want teachers to keep up to date. Among the lessons were how to make an animation to use in classroom lessons and how to source teaching material from the Internet and so on,” he said.
The program began in 2014, but Yasin said it was not the first course the teachers had taken.
“Previously, we had an animation course. We have an InFocus projector so I want to maximize the use of technology in teaching,” he said.
Yasin pointed out that the courses were paid for by the teachers, who allocated 20 percent of their certification allowances for the courses.
The Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Ministry requires teachers to enroll in a certification and specialization program to improve the quality of national education.
The ministry based its decision on Law No. 14/2005 on teachers, which stipulates that by 2015, all 3 million elementary and high school teachers must be completely certified in all required competencies.
All teachers participating in the program should meet the criteria set by the government, such as being a university graduate, and have a minimum teaching workload of 24 hours per week.
The Constitution requires the government to allocate 25 percent of the total state budget to the sector. In the last several years, teachers have been among the best paid civil servants in the country, a total change compared to before 2000.
Teachers who have been certified are entitled to a certification allowance, which equals their monthly salary. A teacher at a state school in Jakarta may earn up to Rp 12 million (US$960) in monthly salary. Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama previously revealed that the budget allocation for state school teachers in Jakarta reached up to Rp 7 billion per year.
However, critics have voiced concerns over the certification process, saying that the process was neither thorough nor sustainable.
Paramadina Public Policy Institute senior researcher Fatchiah Kertamuda said that a recent study on teacher certification conducted in Jakarta revealed that educators were encouraged to initiate self-empowerment programs as the central government did not provide such training.
“Most teachers needed technology training so a number of schools initiated such training,” she told The Jakarta Post recently.
Co-researcher Totok A. Soefijanto said any training for teachers should be paid for by the government and not by the teachers.
“The teacher certification allowance rightfully belongs to the certified teachers, so they should not have to cover such training. Besides, training provided for teachers should meet certain standards set by the government. But when educators take their own initiative in this, the standards can be questionable. Such training should also be covered by the government,” he said.
- allowance – pemberian uang untuk suatu maksud, upah, penghargaan sesuatu dalam tukar tambah, harga; kelonggaran
Totok also called on the central government to reform the teacher certification procedures.
“Among the weaknesses of the teacher certification program is that the process is completed once a teacher is certified. It is prone to complacency,” he said, adding that there should be periodic evaluations to maintain the quality of educators.
- prone – mudah mendapat, cenderung
- complacency – kepuasan dengan diri sendiri