Education VS Corruption

One day after his inauguration (Wednesday 21 October 2009) as the president of the Republic, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono who is now in the second term of the presidency, announced The United Indonesia Cabinet II to help him run the country in the next five years. The new Education Minister Mohammad Nuh, the former Minister of Communication and Information, has been assigned to run the Education in the country.

Phillip Turnbull from BSD City, Banten sent a letter to The Jakarta Post and was published by this English paper on the October 22, 2009. His opinion about the real portrait of education and corruption in Indonesia would be a good feed back to those who are concerned in the education.
Below article is quoted from The Jakarta Post, October 22, 2009:

I began teaching English on a voluntary basis several days ago in local kampung school. As a retired teacher, I wanted to make a contribution, however small, to the wellbeing of my adoptive country. Nothing altruistic about it really. Daytime television bores me. The local school is community of people – students, their parents, teachers and supporting staff. These people welcomed me into their school and we began what I hope will be a long, constructive and mutually satisfying relationship.

I spent he first day in the company of visionary, young headmaster and enthusiastic teachers, getting to know them and my new pupils. Naturally, the children we initially shy, but by the time I felt at the end of the day I was greeted cheerfully by any of them in a way I had not encountered before in any school I had previously taught at.

The day was spent in various classrooms, all of them uniformly drab and soulless and in need of urgent paintwork and cleaning. No artworks, posters, study aides, samples of student’s work or audiovisual equipment was evident in any of the room except one. The desk were rickety, and the seats uncomfortable. The rooms were badly ventilated if at all.

The students seemed happy amongst themselves and respectful towards their teachers, but were academically passive. I spent a lot of time asking the simple questions and encouraging them to question me in turn, but with little success. I suspect they were not used to doing so, regardless of any hesitancy about speaking English. I was told, that was “the Indonesia way – students don’t ask questions or express opinion”.

The teaching staff are on duty from seven in the morning until late afternoon, and are burdened with an excessive and exhausting load of classroom teaching. Also, I learned that as a profession, teachers are not highly esteemed in Indonesian society and are poorly paid. Many have to take on other jobs to make ends meet.

This school clearly lacked proper resources and equipment, despite the timely renovations to a few of its dilapidated classrooms. It has not been adequately funded from the vast financial resources available in this country. And there are vast financial resources in this country, if only they didn’t simply get “lost” or “diverted” or blatantly stolen by some among those entrusted with the nation’s money set aside for public use and infrastructure. One day, perhaps, these criminals will bankrupt this country.

Politicians and elite should understand that money spent on education in everyone’s best interest. It requires a log-term view as opposed to mere political expediency and short-term, quick-fix options that have no lasting effect. Education is about the long haul and requires vision, lots of money and planning. Money invested in quality education al all levels and for all children in money well spent.

Free education for every child in Indonesia from kindergarten to the end of senior high school should be taken for granted. Universities should not be education industries primarily focused on vocational training and making money, but centers of learning open to all who are gifted and talented. Perhaps the new politicians might come and visit this school and share their views on the importance of education with the teachers and students and tell them what they plan to do abut it. That would be an interesting class.


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