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The Jakarta Post
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Teaching science, the best way

  • Niken Prathivi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, March 24 2013 | 10:45 am
Teaching science, the best way Third-graders from the Cempaka Putih 3 state elementary school, East Jakarta, in a math class given by teacher Tuti Suharti. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)" border="0" height="400" width="291">Third-graders from the Cempaka Putih 3 state elementary school, East Jakarta, in a math class given by teacher Tuti Suharti. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)It will take time to phase out the method of memorizing from the country’s educational system.

Indonesia is due to test run a new national curriculum in June, which at its core aims to do away with traditional rote learning that has been practiced in the country since its independence.

The concept of the new Curriculum 2013 follows the modern path of education in other countries, which encourages greater conceptual thinking in learning, leaving behind the dense subject material that students should memorize.

Natural and social sciences will be phased out in elementary schools and first-graders this year will only learn about both subjects through math, Indonesian language and citizenship classes.

While both subjects will still be taught at junior high schools, high school students will no longer be strictly limited to three majors — social, science and language — but will be able to opt for other subjects outside their major as additional subjects.

There is, however, much skepticism that the government can get anywhere near its targets since, despite its modernizing spirit, the plan is paralleled with an equally strong effort to instill religion and morals into students.

Indonesia’s conceptual thinking approach — referred to locally as the “thematic and integrated” approach — appears, based on glimpses of new curriculum documents, to argue that the concept of God and religions is instilled in direct ways, leaving many critics wondering how teachers will determine the right way to teach the subjects.

According to the curriculum guidelines for Indonesian language studies in elementary schools, for example, teachers are required to make children comprehend that the Indonesian language is “a blessing from God and the language of unity”.
Parents and first-graders at Pekayon 18 state elementary school in East Jakarta on the first day of school 2011. (JP/P. J. Leo)

Third-graders from the Cempaka Putih 3 state elementary school, East Jakarta, in a math class given by teacher Tuti Suharti. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)It will take time to phase out the method of memorizing from the country’s educational system.

Indonesia is due to test run a new national curriculum in June, which at its core aims to do away with traditional rote learning that has been practi...

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