Arrijal Rachman, Jakarta – Indonesia's Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology Nadiem Makarim said that the country is in a period of learning crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse.
Speaking at an online press conference on Friday, February 11, Minister Nadiem said that Indonesia's PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) score has not improved over the past 10-15 years. Indonesia lags far behind other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Nadiem said Indonesia's reading score was 371 as of 2018, far below OECD members' average of 500. In Math, the score was only 379.
"Seventy percent of our students who are aged 15 have reading and math skills below the minimum competency. We have to declare a crisis, which needs extraordinary solutions," the minister stated.
After the pandemic hit, Nadiem added, the Indonesian learning crisis got worse after schools were closed and students had to learn at home online. This, he said, is indicated in the reduced learning progress of first and second graders of elementary schools, both in terms of literacy and numeracy.
The minister said that prior to the pandemic, the average one-year learning competency of a first grader was 129 points for literacy and 78 points for numeracy. After the pandemic, the scores dropped significantly to 77 for literacy and 34 for numeracy. The reduced scores are equal to five and six months of learning loss, respectively.
Minister Nadiem said this data was obtained from sampling 3,391 elementary school students from seven regencies/cities in four provinces in January 2020 and April 2021. The small sample means it is likely there are more areas suffering greater impact from learning loss, particularly remote towns and villages.