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[Indonesia] ECCE in Indonesia: Policy and Challenges - Part 1

Since 2001, Indonesian government has put extra attention to increase ECCE gross enrollment rate. Too much emphasis on the quantity of ECCE has set aside the quality aspect. In 2009, the government established a standard that standardize ECCE services with the spirit of improving the quality. This article describes the development of ECCE in Indonesia in terms of policy to improve quantity and quality, and challenges in the implementation. It is divided into two parts. Part 1 describes the context of ECCE in Indonesia. It is followed by explanation about government's attempts to increase the number of ECCE centers throughout Indonesia. Part 2 explains the government attempts to improve the quality of the centers and lists four main challenges in the implementation of the standard.

ECCE in Indonesia: Policy and Challenges

  • Part1 (This paper)
  • Part2

>>Basic Data of Indonesia Indonesia



Since 2001, the Indonesian government has started to put extra attention to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The landmark was the creation of ECCE Directorate (Direktorat Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini) in the non formal section of the Ministry of National Education (now the Ministry of Education and Culture/MoEC) (UNESCO, 2005). Since the establishment of this directorate, non-formal ECCE services are put emphasis on the government planning. As a consequence non-formal ECCE services started to flourish.

To give a little bit of context, Indonesia consists of 33 provinces with total population of 239,870,000 people according to 2010 census. Population of young children (age 0-6) in Indonesia is 31,804,759 or 13.26% of total population. There are 15,381,471 (48.36%) young children living in urban areas and 16,423,288 (51.64%) living in rural areas (BPS, 2011). Indonesia ranks as a lower-middle income country with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) USD 846,832,283,153 in 2011(World Bank, 2012a). Even though there is a slight decrease in poverty level from 13.3% in 2010 to 12.5% in 2011 (World Bank, 2012a), the poverty level is still considerably high compared to Malaysia where it is only 3.8% (World Bank, 2012b). Indonesian position of Human Development Index in education is 119 out of 187 countries. In Asia Pacific, Indonesia ranks 12 out of 24 countries (World Bank, 2012). Indonesia's national budget for education in 2012 reaches 20.2% of total development budget (Nurdiansah, 2012), but only 1.08% is allocated for ECCE (calculated from various sources: Nurdiansah, 2012 & Mulia, 2012).


FIgure 1. Map of Indonesia

Government attention to ECCE has increased the gross enrolment rate in pre-primary education from only 15% in 2000 (UNESCO, 2005) to 53.7% in 2009 (Kemendikbud, 2012). However the increase was still not good enough. Since 2010, government's attention to ECCE has become stronger. ECCE is the Indonesian government's first priority in its 2010-2014 strategic plans in education. The main focus is to increase children's access to best quality ECCE and the equal provision in all provinces, districts, and cities (Kemendiknas, 2009). There are three main targets related to it:

  1. to increase national ECCE's gross enrolment rate (GER) to 72.9%, at least 75% of provinces reach minimum 60%, at least 75% of cities (urban areas) have minimum 75%, and at least 75% districts (sub urban areas) achieve minimum 50%;
  2. at least 85% teachers in formal ECCE have a bachelor degree (4 years university degree) and at least 85% are certified, and at least 55% of non-formal ECCE teachers are trained;
  3. all formal ECCE implement learning program that build characters of honesty, social sensitivity, responsibility and tolerance, and most of the activities should be playful and fun for children (Kemendiknas, 2009). These three targets can be classified into two main objectives that are improving quantity and quality of ECCE.

One of important things that the government did to achieve the objectives is a reform in bureaucracy of ECCE. Before 2011, there were two different directorates within the MoEC who managed two different kind of ECCE. Formal ECCE, usually called as Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK), was managed by the directorate of TK-SD which was also responsible in managing elementary education. Non-formal ECCE was managed by the ECCE directorate. Since 2011 the government created directorate general of ECCE, Non Formal, and Informal Education called as direktorat jenderal Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini, Non Formal, Informal (PAUDNI) to manage both formal and non formal ECCE. Therefore, now both formal and non-formal ECCE are in one coordination board (Kemendiknas, 2011). According to Law of Republic Indonesia No. 20/2003 about National Education System, formal education refers to structured and tiered education. Non formal education refers to any form of structured and systematic education outside the formal system (UURI No. 20/2003).

According to the law, ECCE is excluded from formal education system. The law considers ECCE as a step to prepare children entering primary education.

However, ECCE can be organized formally, non-formally, or informally. Formal ECCE consists of two forms, Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK)/kindergarten and Raudlatul Athfal (RA)/Islamic Kindergarten. Non-formal ECCE consists of kelompok bermain (KB) /play group, Taman Penitipan Anak (TPA)/childcare center, and Satuan Paud Sejenis (SPS)/other forms of play group. Informal ECCE is any form of ECCE provided by family and/or community. Besides these three forms of ECCE services, Indonesia also have integrated service post usually called as pos pelayanan terpadu (posyandu) and young mother's program called Bina Keluarga Balita (BKB) (UNESCO, 2005). Both are services combining health services for young children and parenting education. The distinction of each form of ECCE can be seen in the following table:

  Kindergarten TK/RA Play group KB Childcare/
Daycare TPA
Child Age (year old) 4-6 years old 2-4 years old 3 month old-6 years old
Target Child Child Child
Focus Pre-primary education Child development and school readiness Child development Care service for children of working parents; supplemented with child development
Opening hours 5-6 days/week
150-180 minute/day
Minimum 2 days/week
150-180 minute/day
5-6 days/week
8-10 hours/day
Responsible government agencies Ministry of Education and Culture - for TK
Ministry of Religious Affairs - for RA
Ministry of Education and Culture - policy and guideline development Ministry of Social Welfare - care and social service component, supervision
Ministry of Education and Culture - policy and guideline development
  Other form of playgroup (SPS) Integrated Service Post (Posyandu) Program for Family with Young Children (BKB)
Child Age (year old) 2-4 years old 0-6 years old 0-5 years old
Target Child Child and Mother Mother
Focus Child development; supplemented with additional program Health care service combined with parenting education Parenting education, combined with child development activities during meeting
Opening hours Minimum 2 days/week 2 days/month
2 hours/day
2 days/month
2 hours/day
Responsible government agencies Ministry of Education and Culture - Policy and guideline development Ministry of Health - technical support, supervision
Ministry of Home Affairs works together with Family Welfare and Empowerment Movement
Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection - policy
National Population and Family Planning Board (Badan Kependudukan dan Keluarga Berencana Nasional/

Table 1. ECCE Services in Indonesia (from various sources: UNESCO, 2005; Ministerial Decree No. 58/2009)

SPS includes Pos PAUD, Taman Asuh Anak Muslim (TAAM), Bina Anak Muslim Berbasis Masjid (BAMBIM), PAUD Taman Pendidikan Al-Quran (TPQ), PAUD Pembinaan Anak Kristen (PAUD-PAK), and PAUD Bina Iman Anak (PAUD-BIA) (Kemendiknas, 2011). These services are provided by various ministries, agencies, and communities. The focus can be very diverse, ranging from care and health to religion and education, etc. Ministry of education and culture will commit in regulating education service in the center. For example, Pos PAUD is ECCE services provided by both posyandu and BKB. It integrates health, education, care, parenting, and child protection services. Ministries and agency involved in Pos PAUD provision are ministry of health, ministry of home affairs, ministry of women's empowerment and child protection, and ministry of education and culture, and national population and family planning board (Badan Kependudukan dan Keluarga Berencana Nasional/BKKBN).

Other form of ECCE is Holistic Integrative ECCE developed by National Development Board (Badan Pembangunan Nasional). Similar to Pos PAUD, this model integrates education, care, health, child protection, and parenting. This model, however, is still in the process of trial and development. Therefore, to this date, it has not been implemented widely. There is still an ongoing debate on the definition of "holistic integrative", whether integrated in one agency or if it refers to teachers' skills.

Quantity: Increasing ECCE's Gross Enrolment Rate

To achieve the target of ECCE's gross enrolment rate (GER), the government uses strategy of diversifying ECCE's service providers and integrated approach (UNESCO, 2005). The government has supported and mobilized non-government institutions/organizations, parents and community, private institutions, regional and local authorities to create ECCE centers. The integrated approach allows ECCE to be integrated into existing community services such as community health services (Pos Pelayanan Terpadu/Posyandu) and Program for Family with Young Children (Bina Keluarga Balita /BKB) (UNESCO, 2005). Local governments are also obliged to provide at least one ECCE in each village. These strategies are implemented since around 2002 and have been proven to increase GER quite effectively.

However, the issue of quality has been set aside. Many ECCE centers in villages do not match the minimum standard in terms of facilities and teachers' qualifications. Another issue is that there are many unregistered ECCE centers. The MoEC is now in the process of rearranging the mechanism of ECCE centers registration (Akuntono & Wedhaswary, 2011). The mechanism will be as simple as possible to motivate ECCE providers to register. This is important because only registered ECCE centers have access to government funding (Akuntono & Wedhaswary, 2011).

In Part 2 of the article, I will explain about the policy on quality improvement and challenges of ECEC in Indonesia.



Hani Yulindrasari
Hani Yulindrasari is a lecturer at early childhood teacher education program in the Indonesia University of Education. She is also a certified assessor and instructor of the government's early childhood teacher professional improvement program. Her research interest is in the area of early childhood and gender studies. She is also an active member of women studies center at the same university and actively involves in the promotion of gender mainstreaming in education, child rights advocacy, and anti-human trafficking campaign. She has commitment in the improvement of children's education and gender equality/equity.
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