More than half of schools across the country say they are not ready to resume face-to-face learning in the so-called “new normal” period due to a lack of infrastructure and funds to do so, a recent survey by the Federation of Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) has revealed.
The survey was conducted earlier this month, involving at least 1,656 respondents comprising teachers, principals and school management in 245 cities and regencies in 34 provinces. Most of the respondents work at schools located within a green zone – meaning there is a low risk of COVID-19 infection.
The Education and Culture Ministry announced the phased reopening of schools located in COVID-19 green zones starting July.
The FSGI’s survey found around 89 percent of respondents agreed that a prerequisite to reopening schools during the outbreak was having good health protocols, and that it was therefore important to ensure the school infrastructure was ready to support the new normal situation.
However, around 53.4 percent of respondents claimed they were unable to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the new normal policy.
Schools, especially private ones, claimed not to have a big enough budget to provide supporting infrastructure to restart the learning process amid the new normal, said FSGI deputy secretary-general Satriwan Salim on Tuesday.
“They are facing difficulties in allocating funds for such infrastructure from their budget, as funds have been used for other necessities,” said Satriwan.
He added that more than 70 percent of respondents perceived that preparation for the new normal could be done using the government’s school operational aid (BOS). “However, some said the BOS wouldn’t be enough to cover expenses for providing such infrastructure.”
Labschool Jakarta senior high school principal, Suparno Sastro, said education stakeholders had to pay attention to the students and staff members' health and security above all else upon reopening schools.
“But who can guarantee that? The government acknowledged it is impossible to conduct PCR testing on all students. It would be expensive if the school had to do that,” Suparno said.
“In terms of the BOS, we perhaps can use it to provide health equipment. However, it’s impossible to rely on [BOS] for testing,” Suparno said, adding Labschool Jakarta was still reluctant to reopen at the start of the 2020-2021 school year on July 13.