Education will determine the nation’s future. If Indonesia wants to become a top 10 economy and compete in innovation and technology, its people must have the appropriate skills and knowledge.
There has been much debate about improving our school system, and the government is bound by law to allocate 20 percent of its budget to education.
Is this money well spent? We will not know for a few years, but one thing is crystal clear: The current education system needs an overhaul in how we teach and what we teach.
This is where the ability, motivation and competency of our teachers come into play. As teachers across the country sit for competency tests to determine whether they are fit enough to continue their jobs, questions have emerged about whether a multiple-choice exam is capable of making such a critical decision.
Nonetheless, such tests are the only barometer we have today to determine the quality of our teachers. Results from a nationwide teacher competency test announced in March yielded an average score of just 42 out of 100, according to Education Minister Mohammad Nuh.
At the time, Nuh said the test results suggested that teaching training and development should be intensified, adding that the quality of education was linked to the quality of educators. He was absolutely correct, but has his ministry actually done anything to improve the development of teachers? That remains unanswered.
Teacher training academies currently focus solely on theory, and the ministry does little to monitor them or apply international standards. If our teacher training centers are not up to scratch, how can we expect our teachers to be competent? Alongside modernizing the national curriculum, this must be a major focus.