National

Men outnumber women as
school principals

Gender gap
Gender gap

Women teachers have a lower success rate compared to their male counterparts since housechores hold them back from attaining minimum degree required for certification in the profession, an official says. 

Subandi Sardjoko, director of demography, women’s empowerment and child protection at the National Development Planning Board, said that the percentage of men obtaining teaching certifications was greater than the percentage of women. 

“This has led to greater number of male principals despite a greater number of female teachers,” he said.

A greater number of women principals are only found at the kindergarten level.

Data from the National Education Ministry showed that in 2007 women accounted more than a half the number of school teachers from the elementary to high school levels while the situation was reversed when it came to principals.

For elementary schools, 66.22 percent of principals were men and 33.78 percent were women. For junior high schools, 86.65 percent of principals were men and 13.35 percent were women.

For high schools, 88.19 percent of principals were men and 11.81 percent were women.

Kindergartens had the highest number of female principals, 96.26 percent; only 3.74 percent of kindergartens had male principals.

The certification policy for teachers that started in 2006 bars those who do not have an undergraduate degree from being appointed as principals.

The ministry’s directorate general for teacher quality improvement said that 66 percent of male mathematics and natural science teachers were certified as of 2008, while only 34 percent of female teachers certified.

Subandi said that to be a principal, a teacher should be a university graduate. For teachers living in remote areas, this meant they had to leave their families and homes for a while, he added.

He said that most women teachers preferred to take care of their families rather than pursuing
careers.

“Perhaps in the future, we might create a distance learning system for the women teachers so that they could take care of their families and receive equal treatment in their education and careers,” he said.

Soedijarto, an education expert at Jakarta State University, said that he had yet to see any problem for women or men in becoming principals.

“Everyone has the same opportunity to be principals.

“Teachers who want to be principals should have good leadership and management skills since principals today are required to manage the school. Not everyone has this leadership potential. The ministry should hold managerial training for principal candidates,” he said. 

Soediharto said that to receive certification, teachers were supposed to have university degree. However, he added, teachers also needed to evince a high teaching competency.

“We can set benchmarks such as used in Germany or the US that apply a kind of probation period for teacher candidates. In Germany, teacher candidates must teach for 18 months before being declared fit and proper to be teachers, while in the US teacher candidates must study at university for one year,” he said.

According to the National Education Ministry, the nation had more than 2.6 million teachers in 2009 — 630,000 at private schools and 1.97 million at public schools — 57 percent of whom lacked university or college diplomas and 78 percent of whom were uncertified.

Subandi said that there should be a gender pathway analysis that to serve as a basis for creating gender-responsive policies. He said that such an analysis should provide data that was classified by sex and recognize gender issues in each institution.

Women spent less time in school than men, according to researchers. The 2008 National Social Economy Survey said that men in urban areas spent 9.4 years in school while women spent 8.5 years. In rural areas, the numbers were 6.6 years and 5.7 years, respectively.

The survey also showed a disparity in literacy rates between men and women over 45 years old.

In urban areas, the literacy rate was 93.35 percent for men and 80.86 percent for women, while in rural areas the rates were 84.24 percent and 65.54 percent, according to the survey.

“However, for boys and girls between 10 and 14 years of age, the percentage is equal in both urban and rural areas. It means that the current generation has equal opportunities in education, regardless of gender,” Subandi said.

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