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Expert urges presidential candidates to address teacher welfare in final presidential debate

Jakarta Globe - February 2, 2024

Sella Rizky Deviani, Jakarta – Education expert from Multimedia Nusantara University (UMN), Doni Koesoema, highlights the significance of presidential candidates addressing the issue of teacher welfare in the upcoming fifth and final debate of the 2024 Presidential Election.

"Candidates should discuss the theme of teacher welfare because it is a crucial issue anticipated by the public," Doni Koesoema said on Thursday.

According to Doni, the main problem is the unequal welfare of teachers in Indonesia. For instance, the salary of contract teachers ranges from Rp 300,000 ($19) to Rp 2 million per month, while the salary of teachers with government employee agreement (PPPK) varies between Rp 1.8 million and Rp 6.8 million. Meanwhile, private school teachers depend on funding from the community.

"How private school teachers are valued is crucial because nearly half of the teachers in Indonesia work in private schools managed by foundations. They lack resources to improve teacher welfare as they rely on funding from the community," Doni said.

Doni emphasized the significance of national exams in assessing students' learning outcomes. He recommends that Indonesia consider adopting the education system of Finland, renowned as the gold standard in education. According to Doni, the Finnish exam model allows students the freedom to explore their learning methods.

Finland's approach to measuring student learning outcomes revolves around continuous assessment, formative evaluation, project-based learning, teacher professional judgment, and a reduced emphasis on standardized testing.

He said ensuring equal access to education throughout Indonesia, including essential elements like suitable school facilities, learning materials, and affordable educational expenses, should be a priority for candidates. Doni pointed out the plight of university students entangled in online loans to cover their tuition fees as a specific case that deserves attention.

"The state must take responsibility for student education financing," he explained.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani proposed a student loan program funded by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), modeled after a similar program in the United States. The plan is a response to the controversy surrounding the online loan system implemented by the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in collaboration with a private company for tuition fee payments.

Doni also stressed the challenge of finding suitable employment for prospective teachers reaching 1.3 million individuals across Indonesia.

Lastly, Doni underscored the need to revise the 20-year-old National Education System Law. He suggested that the legislative revision accommodate technological advancements, such as digital sustainability.

"Could it be possible in the future that schools are no longer physical but digital? This was not regulated in the education law," concluded Doni.

The final debate of the 2024 Presidential Election will feature the three presidential candidates: Anies Baswedan, Prabowo Subianto, and Ganjar Pranowo. The debate is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. The themes for the final debate include social welfare, culture, education, information technology, health, employment, human resources, and inclusion.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/expert-urges-presidential-candidates-to-address-teacher-welfare-in-final-presidential-debat