Tuesday, January 16, 2007
  It doesn't cost much .... 3

General interest in education in Indonesia has grown substantially in the past five years and many Indonesian schools are claiming to be a national-plus school. What this means to the population in general and many parents is ambiguous but it is clear that the term national-plus, as a marketing tool, is a very effective way of attracting increased enrollments to a school. There is more to being a national-plus school, however, than simple and often misleading gimmickry.
The Chairperson of the Association of National Plus Schools - 2006

The first so-called National Plus schools were set up over 10 years ago and there are now about 60 in Jakarta, a proliferation coinciding with the growth of the middle classes. They can afford an alternative to the state schools which have long suffered under-investment as central government prioritised its need to overcome the debt crisis. Another factor for low investment in this sector has been decentralisation and that not all regencies and provinces have the political will or competence to manage the education sector.

However, the government does have a commitment to improving education and making it more widely available. This is in line with the Education for All programme initiated in 1999. Its commitment has been demonstrated with the Social Safety Net providing scholarships to primary, secondary school and university students from poorest families in the whole of Indonesia, providing block grants to schools in poor areas for running the schools during this economic crisis and providing budget to support the implementation of equivalency programs for school-age children (primary and lower secondary schools) who financially are not able to attend the regular school programs, as well as providing more scholarships for secondary school student drop-outs to attend skill training courses.

Changes have also been made to the national curriculum which is now moving towards 'student-centred' education. This is in line with the curriculum from Singapore, adopted by many national plus schools. It is hoped that Indonesian students will graduate with a more worldly knowledge, a sense of curiosity/experimentation and the skills to compete 'in this globalisation era', whatever that may be. Above all, it must be hoped that through this 'new' approach citizens will gradually widen their horizons away from the imposed insularity of the Suharto era.

National Plus schools are more expensive than state schools for a variety of reasons. Certain schools will market themselves on the basis of the facilities that they have to offer. From quality gymnasiums and outdoor facilities to suites of computers, and languages laboratories some schools may be able to offer built facilities of excellence; but facilities alone do not necessarily make a school.

An essential ingredient for any school is its teaching staff and here again many national plus schools show an admirable degree of commitment. The training of teachers and requiring teachers to be updating and developing their teaching material is a quite common experience. Also, a commitment to curriculum development and the utilization of new methods and media for teaching reflect national plus schools' commitment to improving their educational service.
Rachel Davies, an educational consultant - May 2004

The better National Plus schools offer the International Baccalaureat or the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education); those that have been accredited by the relevant boards are not the subject of this particular polemic.

Where major problems lie is when the self-appointed management of a school (or network of schools) preaches a philosophy to its clients, the parents, yet does not understand the principles underlying that concept or the need to employ those who do.

As a part of the planning for improving the quality of education, Indonesia recognizes that unless the schools are being managed efficient (sic) and effectively, we cannot expect that the program will achieve its goals and targets. For this, improving the quality of the school personnel to be capable of managing the school properly is of crucial importance. This is indeed very urgent considering the trend that decentralizing education up to the district level is very soon going to need the support of this policy by the readiness of each school to manage the school program efficiently and effectively.

I take 'decentralizing' to also mean the abrogation of responsibilities to management boards. Although district and regional offices of the Ministry of Education oversee those aspects of the curriculum and management of schools, such as the recognition of teacher competence, pertaining to subjects which are compulsory in Indonesian schools, principals may find that they are chiefly answerable to a school board or 'head office' which is staffed by non-educationalists.

However dedicated principals and their staff may be, their greatest stress comes from being answerable to external pressures. The private sector has now become deeply involved in education and schools; so much so now that it seems that education is seen as a good business prospect and a growing business sector.

Seemingly, not all schools have been established with the primary aim of ensuring educational excellence. For many, it is but one way of creating a profitable business. Hence the number of franchise operations, e.g. HighScope, Singapore International School and the many kindergartens such as Tiny Tots. (NB. Language schools have also followed the franchise route as pioneered by EF. ILP and TBI are two examples of long established organisations which have remodeled their core business post-krismon in order to compete for students.)

One cannot argue against the notion of a school more than covering its costs. Without the excess of income over expenditure, there would be little further investment in what has to be a dynamic enterprise. Schooling, both in theory and practice is in a state of constant flux and that is for the good.

The needs and aspirations of all stakeholders should be met, and they are many and various. Education is a service industry - as Rachel Davies says, teachers are indeed the "essential ingredient", at the heart of a successful school.

Part 4 of 'It doesn't cost much ....' will offer an analysis of one schools' programme which in practice pays little heed to the needs of its core providers.


9:00 pm
Alien Thoughts from Home

Home Thoughts from Abroad

Interactive World Time

Indonesian Dictionary

Indonesian Acronyms

Indonesian Slang

Learn Indonesian

Currency Converter

Email Me

The WeatherPixie

5 Day Forecast

Get Firefox!

  • West Sumatra Earthquake Aid Agencies
  • Sidoarjo Mud Volcano
  • Reports on Crashes and Sinkings

  • Living in Indonesia
  • Tempo
  • Bugils News
  • Jakarta Post
  • Jakarta Globe
  • Down To Earth
  • Loads of Advice
  • Inside Indonesia
  • Green Indonesia
  • Hobson's Choice
  • Gunung Bagging - New - clamber volcanoes
  • Indonesian Music
  • Indahnesia Online
  • Maps of Indonesia
  • Indonesia For Kids - blog
  • Green Group Links
  • Faces of Indonesia - blog
  • Photos of Indonesia
  • Indonesian Publications
  • International Crisis Group
  • Indonesian Engaged Travel - blog
  • Outside The Indonesian Box - blog
  • Indonesian Corruption Watch
  • News and Events Aggregators
  • Indonesia's Vegetarian Restaurants

  • Living in Jakarta
  • Culture Shock - Jakarta - 'my' book
  • Bataviase - loads of info in Indonesian
  • Rujak.org - for a sustainable Jakarta
  • Jakarta Kid - stories of street kids
  • Jakarta Events - as it says in the title
  • Map of Jakarta
  • Jakarta Nite Out
  • Jakarta Nite Out - for Francophiles
  • Jakarta 100 Bars - as it says in the title
  • Jakarta Java Kini - upmarket magazine
  • Jakarta Urban Blog- as it says in the title
  • Jakarta Green Map
  • Jakarta Daily Photo - as it says in the title
  • Jakarta? Been there!
  • Protecting Jakarta Bay
  • Nightlife - for single guys - check the forums
  • Jakarta Restaurant Reviews - as it says in the title

  • Living in Bali
  • Hector - at Bali Times
  • Bali Spirit
  • Bali Expat Forum
  • Nusa Lembongan News
  • I've Been To Bali Too Blog - defunct but still good stuff

  • Education Matters
  • Education 21
  • Performing Monkeys
  • Yayasan Goodwill International

  • Pre-Independence History
  • 1941-1942
  • A Family Tale

  • Del Boy - my multi-talented co-author
  • Hotel Rimbo - a mate
  • Ethos Travel - Son No.1
  • Indo Fair Traders
  • Organic Vanilla
  • Merdeka Coffee
  • Pekerti Nusantara

  • Indonesian Blogs in English
  • Top Blogs
  • Merdeka - aggregator
  • Elyani - good stuff
  • Therry - good stuff
  • Om'Bak - group thoughts
  • Yosef Ardi - business gossip
  • Treespotter - his serious blog
  • Milk Tea Girl - poems and stuff
  • Bitching Babe - another slice
  • Café Salemba - ekonomi +
  • Enda Nasution - The Guv'nor
  • Aroeng Binang - a neighbour
  • Harry Nizam H. - legal practitioner
  • Ethereal Shards - youthful ponderings
  • Muli's Commune - defunct but good links
  • Isman H. Suryaman - not a 'Fool'
  • Rasyad A. Parinduri - ekonomi
  • Tasa Nugraza Barley - returned from the USA
  • Indonesia Anonymus - infrequent but always good

  • Indonesian Expats
  • Naz - a "12.5% Indonesian" in Norway
  • Bleu - in Malaysia
  • Anita - in Scotland
  • Maya - in Antibes
  • The Writer - in Denmark
  • Spew-It-All - in Australia
  • Jennie Bev - in SF
  • Rima Fauzi - in Belgium
  • Nadia Febina - in Angola
  • Society of Spectacle - in Berlin
  • Overseas Think Tank - for Indonesia
  • Indonesians Living Abroad Forum - as it says in the title

  • Expat Bloggers in Indonesia
  • PJ Bali - oil worker
  • Mat Solo - Malaysian oil worker
  • Jenny Q - an expat wife
  • Dr Bruce - retired teacher in Bali
  • Spruiked - Brett's take on things
  • Indoprism - an expat family
  • Java Jive - original photoblog (now in the Phillipines)
  • Amor Fati - good links
  • Metro Mad - Jakarta Globe columnist
  • Rob Baiton - back in Oz
  • Jakarta Kid - about street kids
  • Green Stump - in Kalimantan
  • Most Curious - née Betty Loves Blogging
  • The Mad Rotter - Henk loves Indonesian music
  • Duncan Graham - journo archives
  • Hardship Posting - more wtf
  • Indonesia Matters - loads of stuff
  • The Opinionated Diner - and NZ music
  • Patrick Guntensperger - has opinions on current issues

  • Selected Aseanist Blogs
  • SARAwho? - Southeast Asia Aggregator
  • Pelf-ism is Contagious
  • Brommel - usually in Indonesia
  • Friskodude - SF travel writer
  • Klong Walking - an Addick in Bangkok
  • Agam's Gecko - musings from Thailand

  • London Blogs
  • Diamond Geezer
  • London Daily Nature Photo
  • London Bloggers Tube Map

  • Other Fave Blogs
  • Aangirfan - who is s/he?
  • Ad Busters - ecological economic sense
  • Samizdata.net
  • Strange Games
  • The J-Walk Blog
  • Environmental Graffiti

  • Charlton
  • Doctor Kish
  • Inspector Sands
  • Forever Charlton
  • Official Charlton site
  • Addickted to Blogs
  • Ex-Charlton forward in Belize

  • I'm an Aging Hippie
  • Man
  • XTC
  • World Changing
  • MoonJune Records
  • Canterbury Sounds

  • My Youth
  • Blackheath
  • Charlton Lido
  • Charlton House
  • Woolwich Ferry
  • Greenwich Park
  • Severndroog Castle
  • Overlapping Memories
  • More Overlapping Memories
  • Map of My Stomping Ground

  • Put Your Feet Up
  • Biscuit of the week
  • 50's British TV Nostalgia
  • Hello Children, Everywhere

  • Enter your Email

    Subscribe with Bloglines

    Locations of visitors to this page


    eXTReMe Tracker

    Listed on BlogShares

    Personal Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

  • May 1998
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • December 2013
  • Creative Commons Licence