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Gov't removes reading, math skill tests from grade school entry requirements

Jakarta Globe - March 29, 2023

BeritaSatu, Jakarta – Education Minister Nadiem Anwar Makarim has urged grade schools to remove reading, writing, and basic math skill tests from their new student admission processes.

The basic tests are known by the Indonesian acronym as calistung.

"There are still children who have never had the chance to go to PAUD [pre-primary schools]. I think it would be unfair if we require children to take calistung test as a precondition for basic education," Nadiem said on Tuesday.

Nadiem seeks to create a "fun transition" from early childhood education to elementary schools and thus, the calistung test removal. This fun transition becomes part of his flagship Merdeka Belajar (freedom in learning) policy, in which he aims to revolutionize the existing educational system.

"The 24th episode of the Merdeka Belajar is a policy that bases the fun transition from PAUD to grade schools, which will begin in the new school year," Nadiem said.

Existing government regulations – namely the 2010 Law on Education and the 2021 Education Minister Regulation on New Student Admission – also ban calistung test.

In addition to calistung test removal, grade schools need to implement an introductory phase for new students during the first two weeks to help them adapt to a new environment. Nadiem also told schools to implement learning activities that can provide information on the student's learning needs.

According to Nadiem, elementary schools must also nurture the six fundamental skills in their students.

Those skills encompass recognition of religious and moral values, among others. Schools must teach social and language skills for interaction, the meaning of positive learning, and also nurture cognitive maturity for kids to do basic literacy and numeracy. Other fundamentals include motor and self-care skills development for students to be self-sufficient in the learning environment.

"Those foundation skills should be built in a continuous manner starting from PAUD to the second grade. For this reason, the competency standards for PAUD graduates are not designed by age, but as achievements that need to be attained at the end of the phase, and [students can work towards those goals] up to the second grade," Nadiem said.

"There is also no graduation evaluation for PAUD students," the minister added.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-removes-reading-math-skill-tests-from-grade-school-entry-requirement