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Govt rolls out new national curriculum despite criticism

  • Slamet Susanto and Nadya Natahadibrata

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, July 16, 2013 | 10:13 am
Govt rolls out new national curriculum despite criticism

Out with the old: Students from elementary, junior high and senior high schools in Yogyakarta show off their new textbooks that were printed by the Education and Culture Ministry for the new 2013 national curriculum. The ministry started the implementation of the new national curriculum on Monday in spite of logistical problems. JP/Slamet Susanto

The Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh officially launched the 2013 national curriculum on Monday despite criticism from experts and teacher unions who said the ministry was not fully prepared to implement the
new system.

The new curriculum will be implemented in stages after the ministry found that only limited numbers of schools were ready.

'€œNot all schools have implemented the 2013 curriculum. This will be carried out in stages and in 2015, we hope that the new curriculum can be implemented in all parts of Indonesia, including in remote areas,'€ Nuh said in a ceremony held at SMAN 1 High School in Bantul, Yogyakarta on Monday.

As reported earlier, the new curriculum would be implemented in the first and fourth grades of elementary, first grade of junior high school, and the first grade of senior high schools and vocational schools.

Nuh said that 6,326 schools, including elementary schools, junior high schools and senior high schools throughout the country had started implementing the new curriculum.

The ministry meanwhile had enlisted 61,074 people, comprised of 572 national instructors, 4,740 core teachers and 55,762 targeted teachers, to join training for the new curriculum.

Teacher unions have expressed concern over the logistics of the new curriculum, saying that five days of training on the subject would not be enough.

Teachers also doubt if they could master the new curriculum quickly, as they were only given the materials shortly before its implementation.

The Education and Culture Ministry'€™s director general for secondary education Hamid Muhammad said that teachers could easily catch up with the new system.

'€œTeachers will receive guidance from the State Educational Quality Control Agency [LPMP] as well as from several state universities'€™ lecturers,'€ Hamid told The Jakarta Post during the launch of the 2013 curriculum at Al Azhar BSD in South Tangerang.

He said that the ministry would also evaluate the program soon.

'€œIn October or November this year, we will evaluate the curriculum and we can share knowledge with teachers should they find obstacles while using the new curriculum,'€ he added.

Hamid also brushed off criticism saying that the ministry rushed the implementation of the new national curriculum as an excuse to spend government funds for the project, including for publishing books.

The ministry allocated a budget of Rp 829 billion (US$82.9 million) for the implementation of the new curriculum this year.

Hamid said the textbooks would be given to schools for free, which would then be distributed to students.

He added that students who would use the new books this year, would have to return it to the school'€™s library, which would then loan them to the new batch of students the following year.

'€œThose books will be used for five consecutive years, and they belong to the school'€™s library, not students,'€ Hamid said.

'€œHowever, there will be an exception for elementary students who are required to work on the books,'€ he added.

Separately, Sulistyo, the chairman of Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) criticized the ministry'€™s policy to only provide five-days of training for teachers.

'€œTeachers were forced to read and understand the materials, and absorb the teaching methods in just five days,'€ Sulistyo said on Monday. '€œMost of us would like to say that we'€™re not ready, but I guess we have no other choice but to run the new curriculum,'€ he added.

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