Reviewed by Riko Arfiyantama

 Submitted as the first paper in Dual Degree Program UNNES

Indonesia and U.S are two examples of many countries that still study and develop education field.  So many movements, reform, issues, and problems of education were walking together in both countries. Some of them were similar and others were different. Some people think that teaching is simple, but actually it is not as simple as it seems. Those things happen because education couldn’t be separated with students, society, politics, system and others. Teaching is very different with other jobs because a teacher is in identity not only in profession.

As a developing country, Indonesia has many periods of education time. First is the colonized era. At that time, Indonesia was colonized by Dutch (around 350 years). The education situation was very tragic. There was no studying opportunity for the poor people. Those were from ‘priyayi’ (High status people) that only studied at school. Ironically, there was no gender equality also. The men had bigger opportunity to studying than women. All the women had to stay at home to nurturing their children and manage home well. So it means that no women studied although they were from ‘priyayi’ family. Actually the colonizer still provided the education for public but they ran the education only for getting cheap labors in fulfilling what they needed. Moreover, they were taught in very limited knowledge to work in some ‘rough’ jobs. So the society became suffering and uneducated. Those issues were going on in many years and even centuries.

One of the schools characters established in the colonial time was religion oriented. Religion here means that School was established to spread a belief of religion. For example: the colonizer (such as Dutch) disseminated Protestantism, Portuguese did the Catholicism in the Church, and the existed Islam natives (since the colonizer hadn’t come) that still taught the society in the ‘Pondok Pesantren’. But something that must be underlined, the teaching processed that time only focused on religion material and other shallow subjects.

In the time before 1900s, it can be stated that Education in Indonesia was full of sexism, discrimination between high and low level, fascism, and religion differentiation. Although some schools were established by the slogan “for natives schools”, but they actually made nothing to the low status people and women. This situation made most natives became poorer and suffering. Nobody cared with them. The colonizer and the leaders didn’t give attention to them, until there were some founders that fight the inequity. Started with Bodie Oetomo that was led by Dr. Sutomo and Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo had triggered the other organizations in doing the rebellion to the Dutch regime. After the establishment of Boedi Oetomo, It could be listed that Organizations such as Sarikat Islam, Muhammadiyah, and some originally native schools were followed. The baton of the movement was truly taken by some following founders such as Ahmad Dahlan, Ki hajar Dewantoro, and R.A Kartini. The last name mentioned is the very famous heroin for women in Indonesia because she had opened all people eyes. She was a daughter from Priyayi family. But, different with others daughters, she had a very great spirit to fight the sexism in studying. As a daughter of Priyayi family, she had an opportunity to study at ELS (Europese Lagere School). She also learned Dutch at that school. In the year of twelve, she had to start doing ‘pingitan’ (period of time that a woman must stay home and never go out until someone marrying to her). Then, she used to study so many books from Dutch in her pingitan. She learned so many things and found that studying was very important. She also had an expectation to establish a school one day. After finishing her pingitan, she fortunately married to a wise leader that supported her to establish a school. This was very special school because women could study at that school. Her struggling wasn’t stopped here, moreover she had also written a book entitled Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang (Dark finished, the bright is rising). She had written a name in Indonesia history. She had helped thousands and even millions women up to now. Her name is honored as an emancipation heroin.

After Dutch colonial time, Japanese came to Indonesia. The natives who had been smarter began to rebel the Japanese so they just stayed in Indonesia in 3 years. The Indonesian’ independence started. All the changes of the social, economy, education, and politic were set. The Indonesian Government had been aware of the necessity of Education. It was the time that Education held in the correct goal. Education was not for Priyayi only, men only, or teaching for getting cheap workers, but education is to humanize truly humans.

In line with Indonesia, United State of America (USA) had many problems and issues in their Education development till they become a big country like now. In the Education history of US, the story of teacher education was started in a century ago. The normal school was an example of the beginning school established to fulfill the highly demand of teachers. After the US knew that preparing teacher is very crucial, they decided to establish the normal school to solve the shortage of the problem. After that, the regional state university followed and got the change to produce teachers. In that period, the society became aware that education should be prepared well. The more skillful teachers were needed than just producing a big amount of teachers without high quality. Then, in 1870s and more, some elite universities were born such as University of Lowa, Michigan, Columbia, Harvard, Berkeley, and Ohio State. Those universities became better on and on up to now so they become famous universities in the world.

From the routes of the reform and movement in the education history, there were always so many obstacles to pass. They were noted that sexism and racism had already happened. The issue they faced, for instance, the female teachers had to be a role-model. They were discriminated not to marry when they became a teacher. They were regarded that they were easy to control. Then, they also paid less than male teachers. Besides that, the racism had already taken also in aggravating the situation. Some children were afraid of going to school because they were hit by the teachers (violence).

Tom Mooney, AFT Vice President and President of the Ohio Federation teacher, is a figure that had a big contribution in struggling for teachers in US. His idea to make the teacher welfare and powerful is always thought. Through his organizations, he keeps fighting to increase the teachers’ salary because it used to be lower than other white-collar occupations. “He sees improving working condition for teachers and increasing teacher power as his most important jobs” (Spring, 2008: 273).

Based on the explanation above, some issues had been already resolved, but some others still remain in both countries nowadays. As a result of comparing, I can see that both Indonesia and USA had a problem of sexism. Women were regarded powerless and became the secondary level of human. Happily, this kind of issue has already stopped. In recent education, no more discrimination is allowed. Men and women are equal.

In addition, there is an issue that I found still existing in Education. That is salary. Both countries realize that salary for teacher is still lower than other occupation. In Indonesia, about 3 years ago, the government has set a policy that teachers must do certification. Certification here means that teachers should be certificated after they are proven to be a professional teacher. The certification must be done in the certain rules, steps, requirements, and circumstances. As the result of doing certification, teacher will get additional salary that is as equal as with their main salary. So they will get twice per month. This policy becomes a very fresh and great prize for teachers. Moreover, they have been worked for government as a civil servant teacher. They get much and enough income. On the other hand, the job vacancy for teachers becomes narrower because the teachers done the certification must teach in 24 lesson hours (36 hours) minimally per week. Ironically, the application of minimal lesson hours’ requirement is getting more than the minimal stated. I found that teacher teaches in 40 lesson hours (60 hours) per week. Whereas the normal lesson hours in a week are only 46 lesson hours. So it will close slowly for the new teachers to work. The government didn’t realize that the jobless in Indonesia is still high and probably it will be increasing some years later. This kind of issue seems not to be cared by the Indonesian government and hasn’t been predicted up to now. In the US, the salary issue has also come up. The survey and analysis of teacher salary trend 2004 indicates that the teachers in U.S earn money less than other white-collar occupations. Fortunately, they have teachers’ union and teachers’ politic that support and keep their right to have a better future.

Nowadays, the government attention to the children’ education goes increasingly. However, the equalization of the quality in education is still different between someplace and the other. Some schools have already equipped by high facilities, but some others haven’t. Some have very high buildings, but some have them which are almost collapsed. Some students easily go to school, but some can’t continue their study at high school. For example at my Secondary school, some my students can’t continue their study because the financial problem. As we know, the government in Indonesia gives the subsidy only for students in Primary and Secondary school level. However, the education at high school is still expensive for some people. So there is still some students’ dropout from school. Ironically, they only had secondary certificate. The government, teachers, and society should start to think and do something for this kind of issue. So the education for all can be achieved by all the citizens.


Labaree, David. 2008. Handbook of Research on Teacher Education. New York and London: Routledge.

Spring, Joel. 2008. American Education. New York: Queens Colledge.

Warsono. 2011. A Brief History of Education in Indonesia. Semarang. Power-point form.

Peraturan Pemerintah RI Nomor 19 Tahun 2005 tentang standar nasional pendidikan

Peraturan Menteri Pendidikan Nasional Nomor 16 Tahun 2005 tentang Standar Kualifikasi dan Kompetensi Pendidik.

Peraturan Pemerintah No. 74 Tahun 2008 tentang Guru

Peraturan Menteri Pendidikan Nasional Nomor 18 Tahun 2007 tentang Sertifikasi bagi Guru dalam Jabatan yang sedang dalam proses perubahan Kepmendiknas yang baru.

Peraturan Mendiknas Nomor 40 Tahun 2007 tentang Sertifikasi Guru dalam Jabatan melalui Jalur Pendidikan.

Undang-Undang RI Nomor 20 Tahun 2003 tentang Sistem Pendidikan Nasional

Undang-undang RI Nomor 14 Tahun 2005 tentang Guru dan Dosen



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