National Education Day: Teacher Quality in Indonesia and the Importance of Learning Freedom
2 Mei 2023
Early May is always a special moment in the world of Indonesian education. This is because every 2nd of May, Indonesia celebrates Hari Pendidikan Nasional (National Education Day). Especially in 2023, the theme of Hardiknas proclaimed by the Ministry of Education and Culture is "Moving Together to Enliven Learning Freedom". Not only that, May 2023 is also designated as Learning Freedom Month.
So, has Indonesia shown independence in the teaching and learning process? Have Indonesian children gained freedom in accessing education?
Based on data from the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud), the number of teachers in Indonesia in the academic year 2022/2023 only reached 3.31 million people. From that number, the total is:
259,813 teachers teach at the Kindergarten level (TK),
1,454,221 teachers teach at the Elementary School level (SD),
664,746 teachers teach at the Junior High School level (SMP),
331,371 teach at the Senior High School level (SMA),
319,903 teach at the Vocational High School level (SMK),
33,631 teachers teach at the Community Learning Center (PKBM),
5,187 teachers teach at the Learning Activity Studio (SKB), and
26,681 teachers teach at the Special School (SLB).
On the other hand, the number of teachers who teach at the preschool level is still very small. From the same data source, it is recorded that a total of 165,861 teachers teach at the Playgroup level (KB), 5,277 teachers teach at the Quran Education Center (TPA), and the remaining 46,780 teachers teach at similar Early Childhood Education Units (SPS).
Not only that, the distribution of the number of teachers based on regions in Indonesia in the academic year 2022/2023 is still uneven.
Based on data obtained from Kemendikbud, the largest number of teachers is in West Java province with a total of 464,363 people, followed by East Java which has 413,254 teachers, and Central Java with 355,729 teachers. Meanwhile, North Sumatra has a total of 206,343 teachers, and South Sulawesi has a total of 135,808 teachers. The lowest number of teachers is in North Kalimantan province with a total of 12,681 people.
Teacher Quality in Indonesia
The good news is, based on the results compiled by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the quality and quantity of qualified teachers in Indonesia continue to experience an increasing trend.
When the pandemic hit its peak in 2021, the World Bank reported that Indonesia had lost around 10-12 months of learning time (learning loss). The pandemic also caused the effectiveness of student learning to only reach 40 percent, especially due to the adjustment of learning through online methods.
Now, with the improving global health situation against Covid-19 and the return of face-to-face learning activities, the impact of learning loss can be further minimized. Qualified teachers who have met the academic qualification requirements equivalent to Diploma IV (D4) or Bachelor's degree (S1) are increasing by 9.6 percent each year.
Not only that, the majority of teachers who are millennials have reached 29.6 percent. This will further support the needs of the current 4.0 education era which is increasingly developing through the process of digitalization.
Teachers Help Students Achieve Independence in Learning
In line with the theme "Moving Together to Enliven Independence in Learning" in Hardiknas 2023, there are many hopes directed towards Indonesian teachers to achieve the goals of independence in learning for the students they teach. Some of these include:
having the competency to adjust to the 4.0 education era so that teaching abilities are in line with internet-based skills as a basic skill,
educating students to be able to solve problems and design strategies,
able to instill independent spirit and resilience in students,
able to fulfill the psychological needs of students as learners, and
able to play a role as a facilitator, motivator, inspirator, and developer of character as well as emotional and social intelligence of children so that they have high empathy.
Being a teacher does indeed come with a great responsibility. In addition to teaching new knowledge that will be useful for students in further education levels, teachers are also tasked with shaping and molding resilient and empathetic individuals in their students. Through the spirit of Independence in Learning, it is hoped that Indonesian teachers can guide and help students achieve their best versions of themselves, so that they become great individuals who can compete in the future.