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[Indonesia] The Development of Early Childhood Education in Indonesia

Summary:
This article lists seven current issues on Early Childhood Care and Education development in Indonesia. The issues are derived from three years intensive observation and analysis of ECCE on five contributing conditions, such as the history and chronology of its development; objective conditions and its human resources; socio economic and cultural conditions; current government policies; and optimism and beliefs on the investment. First and the most important issue is the establishment of National Grand Design (NGD). To reach the goals of the NGD, the government has set six strategies. These strategies are ECCE national movements, improvement of ECCE teachers’ academic qualifications, formulation of national standard for ECCE, establishment of integrated ECCE services, promotion of parents involvements in ECCE, and integration of character-building in the ECCE curriculum. This article argues that each strategy has also become issue in ECCE development in Indonesia.

Keywords: Early childhood care and education, Indonesia, ECCE, teacher's qualification, parenting, curriculum

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This article is written based on keynote presentation of the first author, Ali Nugraha, in the 2011 International Early Childhood Studies Conference: Current Issues in Early Childhood, 11-12 July 2011, in Indonesia University of Education (UPI), Bandung.

This article lists seven current issues on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) development in Indonesia. The seven issues listed in this article are derived from three years intensive observation and analysis on five contributing conditions of ECCE, such as the history and chronology of its development; objective conditions and its human resources; socio-economic and cultural conditions; current government policies on ECCE; and optimism and beliefs on the investment of ECCE.

1. National Grand Design of ECCE

Firstly, the most important issue on ECCE development in Indonesia is establishment of National Grand Design (NGD). The NGD shows that the government has put a significant attention for the development of ECCE and the improvement of the government’s perception of ECCE. The government has now been aware that putting more attentions and funds to ECCE is actually an investment that can bring about a significant change to the future and human capital is the key to the betterment of Indonesia.

The NGD covers long term strategies for ECCE development. It is set to be able to accommodate the needs of its development from 2011 to 2045. The goal is to build high quality generations with good characters, skills, and intelligences. With full of hope and optimism, it is expected that ECCE will be able to deliver best quality generations as a gift for one century independence of Indonesia in 2045. The NGD has now been a reference and guidelines for stakeholders and policy-makers and has become a giant stepping stone for significant improvement of ECCE in Indonesia.

In order to reach the goal of the NGD, the government sets strategies for developing ECCE; such as ECCE national movements, improvement of teachers’ academic qualifications, formulation of national standard, establishment of integrated services, promotion of parents involvements in ECCE, and integration of character-building in the curriculum. We argue that each strategy has also become issue in ECCE development in Indonesia.

2. The National Movement of ECCE

The second issue is the national movement of ECCE. It is actually an effort to increase access of children, throughout Indonesia, to ECCE. This movement forces Indonesian government, in every level, to facilitate the establishment and development of ECCE centres in their region. 2009-2010’s Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) shows that only 53.7% Indonesian young children has accessed ECCE (Ministry of National Education, 2010a). Comparing to other countries in South East Asia, Indonesian GRE is equal to Philippines that has GRE 51% (UNESCO, 2011a). It is left behind Thailand, which has GRE 95% (UNESCO, 2011b), but it is ahead Cambodia which has GRE only 20% (UNESCO, 2011c).

Among all existing ECCE centres in Indonesia, Al-Quran learning centres for children (Taman Pendidikan Al-Quran/TPQ in Indonesian language) contributes the highest percentage of ECCE gross participation rate, 25.66% (Ministry of National Education, 2010a). This is not surprising because the population of Indonesia is dominated by Moslem, and most Moslem will be more likely to choose Islamic-based schools/education centres for their children. Taman Pendidikan Al-Quran/TPQ is a place where children learn to read Quran and also get opportunities to play with their peer group. The concept is basically similar to play group, but they emphasize on the ability to read Quran and teaching the Islamic values.

To increase the participation rate, the government is trying to support and encourage existing ECCE centres to be able to increase their capacity to accept children. However, most of the existing ECCE centres have limited qualified human resources, facilities, and infrastructures. Therefore, to increase children enrolment remains a challenge.

3. Increasing ECCE Teachers’ Educational Qualification

The third issue of ECCE is human resource. Most ECCE teachers and professionals do not have relevant higher educational background. Data from the Ministry of National Education (2010b) shows that 60.6% of ECCE educators only have high school qualification or less. There are only 15.7% educators who have bachelor degree (Ministry of National Education, 2010b). To improve this condition, the government assigns and encourages relevant universities to open ECCE bachelor degree program. Existing ECCE teachers, who have not got a bachelor degree, are also urged to pursue a bachelor degree as soon as possible.

To some extent, this has been problematic for ECCE teachers. They have to spend great amount of money for their bachelor degree, and yet their salary is still very low. Therefore it is difficult to have all ECCE teachers get their bachelor degree as targeted. To overcome this problem, the government is also improving teachers’ and professionals’ competences through courses and trainings. As a follow up, the government has proposed a system in which the courses and trainings can be valued as part of bachelor courses. However, this again has become quite problematic for universities. Universities have to develop a system to implement the training conversions into university degree’s credits. The quality of ECCE higher education for the training conversions is questioned.

4. The National Standard of ECCE

The forth issue is the National Standard of ECCE. Currently, there are 5 models of ECCE centre classified into non-formal, informal and formal model of institution. The models are Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK/kindergarten), Kelompok Bermain (KB/Playgroup), Taman Penitipan Anak (TPA/day-care), PAUD Berbasis Keluarga (PBK/ family-based ECCE), and Satuan PAUD Sejenis (SPS/other forms of ECCE centre similar to play group). Each of the models is differentiated based on age, services, and how it is conducted. The table below shows the differences based on these three aspects.

Model
Age
Services
How it is conducted
Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK)/Kindergarten 4-6 years old
  • Preparing children for formal schooling
  • Early literacy
  • Developmental stimulations
  • Structured learning
Formal institution: structured, systematic, part of school system
Kelompok Bermain (KB/Playgroup) 2-4 years old
  • Developmental stimulations
  • Early literacy
  • Semi structured learning
Non Formal institution: structured and systematic but outside the school system
Taman Penitipan Anak (TPA/ Day care) 3 months old - 6 years old
  • Child care while the parent is at work or unavailable to take care of the child.
  • Developmental stimulations
Non Formal
PAUD Berbasis Keluarga/PBK (Family Based ECCE) 0-4 years old
  • Developmental stimulation
  • Early Literacy
Informal, at home by parents
Satuan Paud Sejenis (other form of ECCE similar to play group) 2-4 years old
  • Developmental stimulations
  • Early literacy
Integrated to community services such as:
  • Posyandu (community based health services)
  • Bina Keluarga Balita (community services for family with children under 5 years old)
  • Taman Pendidikan Al Quran/TPQ (Al-Quran Learning Centre)
  • Sunday School (for Christians)

All five models are obliged to follow national standard which covers standard of developmental goals; standard of ECCE teachers and professionals; standard of content, process, and evaluation/assessment; and standard of facilities, infrastructure, management, and finance. We believe that these standards will improve the ECCE condition. On the other hand, not all existing centres have the capability and resources to follow all the standards. In this sense, the National Standard has also become a burden for ECCE centres with limited resources. Luckily, the government notices this condition. Therefore, in 2012 the government will allocate funding to help operational costs to run ECCE for 6 million children (Rubiantoro, 2011).

5. The Integrated ECCE Services System

The fifth issue is the integrated ECCE services. This system enables ECCE to be integrated to existing public health services that are available in almost every village in Indonesia. It enables ECCE to reach more children in villages and remote areas. In this sense, the participation rate will increase. But it is still a challenge to provide appropriate facilities and infrastructure in these integrated services of ECCE. Providing a qualified ECCE human resource in this setting is also a challenge.

6. Involving Parents in ECCE

The sixth issue is to involve parents’ participation in ECCE. Parents play very important role in the development of their children. Most of young children spend their time at home with parents or caregivers. Therefore, it is very important to involve them. By involving parents, education and stimulations in the ECCE centres continue at home. Our anecdotal observations and experiences show that many parents leave their young children’s education and stimulation to the teachers. Many of them do not understand how to continue them. Therefore, the government has set a pilot project of parenting program to increase their involvement in ECCE. The pilot project arranges and urges

  1. The establishment of parents’ organisation in every ECCE centre, called Kelompok Pertemuan Orangtua (KPO/parents’ meeting group). These groups should arrange a parenting class periodically.
  2. The establishment of parents’ consultation day in every ECCE centre. Parents’ consultation day is a day when parents can ask questions, talk, and consult individually about their children’s development to teachers or development experts.
  3. The involvement of parents in ECCE activities. For example, parents involve in preparing food for cooking activity and in career day, introducing his/her occupation to the children; etc.
  4. The involvement of parents in planning and organizing ECCE activities. For example, parents participate in planning a field trip.
  5. Promoting ‘home visit’, teachers are encouraged to sometimes visit their pupils and families at home. This is to build good relationship between parents and teachers, so that the goal of ECCE can be easier to reach.

7. Character Building Integrated Curriculum

The seventh issue is the need to integrate character building into ECCE curriculum. Indonesian generation is facing big problem of moral degradation. Indonesian young people are facing challenges of drugs, narcotics, and psycho-tropics abuses, pornography, HIV/AIDS, and violence. Number of narcotics and psycho-tropics abuse is relatively high. Data shows that in 2008 alone there are 19,791 cases of narcotics and psycho-tropics abuse (BNN, 2009). It is also worrying that Indonesia is in the fifth rank of the highest internet access with “sex” as the keyword (Okezone.com, 12 October 2011). Even though Indonesia has already had a regulation on pornography, the implementation of this regulation is still lacking and challenging. Children can easily access restricted sites through their hand phones or in internet cafes, printed pornography and adult movies from the pirated VCD and comic sellers. Many Indonesian children are also exposed to violence in the media or some even in their neighbourhood. Therefore, they are in need of protection from every kind of bad influences of pornography, narcotic and psychotropic abuses and violence.

One of the methods of protection is to prepare the children and equip them with high quality characters and values that could be the natural and internal filter and shield of bad influence from the environment. Internalization of good values would be very effective in the early years. Therefore, the integration of character building into the ECCE curriculum is very important. This could be the best way to prepare our generation to face the challenging situations in their lives.

Despite the fact that we are facing numbers of challenges in ECCE development, we are full with optimism that the NGD will be successful in improving ECCE condition in Indonesia.

References

BNN. (2009). Narcotic and Psychotropic Case 2003-2008. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.bnn.go.id/portalbaru/portal/konten.php?nama=DataKasus&op=detail_data_kasus&id=32&mn=2&smn=e

Ministry of National Education. (2010a). Angka partisipasi kasar (APK) PAUD (TK/RA/TPA/KB/SPS/TPQ) menurut provinsi 2009/2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.psp.kemdiknas.go.id/uploads/Publikasi%20Pendidikan/apk%20-%20apm/apk_paud_prov_0910.pdf

Ministry of National Education. (2010b). Statistik Pendidikan Taman kanak-Kanak. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.psp.kemdiknas.go.id/uploads/Statistik%20Pendidikan/0001/index_tk_0001.pdf

Okezone.com. (2011, October 12). Pornografi online, penjajah moral bangsa model baru. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://techno.okezone.com/read/2011/10/12/55/514242/pornografi-online-penjajah-moral-bangsa-model-baru

Rubiantoro, Y. (2011, April 7). Kemdiknas akan kucurkan dana BOP untuk 6 juta anak didik PAUD. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://paudnipolman2011.blogspot.com/2011/05/kemdiknas-akan-kucurkan-dana-bop-untuk.html

UNESCO. 2011a. Education System Profile: Early Childhood Education: Thailand. Retrieved January 19th, 2012, from http://www.unescobkk.org/education/resources/country-profiles/thailand/early-childhood/

UNESCO. 2011b. Education System Profile: Early Childhood Education: Philippines. Retrieved January 19th, 2012, from http://www.unescobkk.org/education/resources/country-profiles/philippines/early-childhood/

UNESCO. 2011c. Education System Profile: Early Childhood Education: Cambodia. Retrieved January 19th, 2012, from http://www.unescobkk.org/education/resources/country-profiles/cambodia/early-childhood/


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