Reviewed by Riko Arfiyantama

Submitted as the fourth response paper in Dual Degree Program UNNES

The shortage of the teachers had been faced by the Indonesian education reform since 1960s. The Government planned to uphold the basic education compulsory and to provide the big amount of teachers by minimum funding. The establishments of many teacher education schools were initiated i.e. SGA and SGB (Sekolah Guru A and B established for producing elementary school teachers). The graduation from IKIP (teacher training and education institute) and FKIP (Faculty of Teachers Training and Education) also got lacking in fulfilling the higher education around 1960s until 1970s. Only one-third of Sarjana Muda (baccalaureate) and one-fourth Sarjana (undergraduate) graduation were perceived to have no significance help for solving the shortage. The financial support as a teacher was very inadequate which insisted some teachers moved to other occupations. The curriculum held by the Ministry of education and culture (MOEC) was not yet giving a big influence to the education reform because the system exerted the dualism authorities between the MOEC and Ministry of Home Affairs. Therefore, the content of the curriculum tended to teach or transmit the national ideology into some subjects taught at schools. Although the curriculum had implemented four basic elements namely the purpose, content, method (pedagogy), and evaluation, the success of holding a better education used to stumble so many obstacles. Along the past of education effort up to now, the MOEC or called MONE now (Ministry of National Education) has changed the curricula to assist better improvements forward education in Indonesia. However, it will never come true if the teachers as the main player do not come along to improve their teaching quality (Beeby, 1982).

At schools described by Bjork (2005), most teachers did in contrast of what the government expects. They seemed to show their loyalty and obedience to the government, however, they forgot to play their main duty as educator. They only gave little portion of attention to their students. They had side-job that came to the first priority. Accordingly, they could not be punctual in teaching, even left their students unsupervised, and had no willing to improve their teaching quality. The indiscipline habits of the teachers did not reflect a good model of a professional teacher. Above all the phenomena happening at those schools, the low salary of the teachers may raise as the main reason. It becomes a very understandable reason for them because they cannot only rely on their income as a teacher. They cannot be blamed offhand because they also have a big responsibility to fund their family. It means that the economy problem faced by teachers seems to be a big enemy of making the new brighter education era along the past period up to the present.

The autonomy and resistance at St. Timothy’s Junior High may give the answers as a good model of a new education system. St. Timothy’s Junior High School may go one step forward in enacting the education. They had an excellent academic reputation so that some people wanted to pay the high tuition at the school. Therefore the principle, the teachers and even the staffs were encouraged to serve the best services for the students (p. 149). Bjork revealed that he hardly ever found the teachers came late to teach in the classroom. Moreover, they were also punctual in leaving their teaching and learning process. At the faculty room, the teachers did not do gossiping like what happened at other schools. They were busy in correcting students’ assignments, preparing the material, reading through the text books, and so forth (p. 137). Teachers at St. Timothy’s High School can be regarded as the professional teachers who have an excellent pedagogy aspect. They have treated their students as the central of the teaching and learning process. They modified the content standard given by the government and add some materials to meet with the members of the community.  It was shown in LCC (Local Content Knowledge) courses offered at St. Timothy that did match the characteristics of the student body better than at any other school (p. 143). The higher teacher salary compared by other school may also give a big influence to the teachers at the school so they want to dedicate most of their time to education. What the teachers did at St. Timothy give a model that teacher must have good pedagogical content knowledge in their teaching. They did the experiment to see what the students need. They do not only focus on the result of the standardized test score (Ebtanas) to decide their best service, otherwise, the process they do to hold some sustainable series of learning.

Ravitch (2010, p. 224) argues that “the essential ingredients of a successful education system: ‘a strong curriculum, experienced teachers, effective instruction, willing students, adequate resources, and community that values education’”. As what happened at St. Timothy’s school, the second ingredient –teacher- is the director. Envision a drama performance. Curriculum is as the scenario or the drama script, the teacher as the director, effective instruction as the guidance from the director, student as the actors and actress playing, resources as the properties needed to decorate the stage, and community as the audience. The director can manage and maintain all as what he directs. The curriculum is given by the government, however, the teacher can modify it in order to meet the students need. The effective instruction is directly touching with the teacher does. If the teachers give a good way in teaching, the students will be motivated in learning. If they do in contrast, it may decrease the student achievement. Then the teacher can also choose the resources for the students. If the resources meet with the student and community, it will be very useful for their future life. At last, if the teachers can provide an excellent academic reputation, it will affect community that values education. The parents will be glad to pay high tuition for their children. Therefore teacher does not only have a responsibility to teach, but also do struggle to enhance all the aspects related to education at school.

Producing an experienced or high-quality teacher cannot be separated from the education system embodied by the country. Teachers as the key player in education must be prepared well since they are in the pre-service teacher. In United States (US), Professional Development Schools (PDSs) and community settings may help to improve the teacher education preparation much. It can provide a strong relationship between universities and P-12 schools. It can contribute many issues and update information about what is happening to the recent education. Therefore the universities can meet with the community demand. It also helps the pre-service teachers understand the real situation dealing with the diverse cultures, ethnic groups, and learners at school. They can master their content knowledge and do some researches to improve their pedagogical knowledge. It also helps them to know the implementation of good education theory in practice. The PDSs can play a crucial role in preparing the professional teachers and maintain the local curricula based on the situation. What the students need and what must be done can be covered by the PDSs to prepare the future education.

To prepare the teachers, Indonesian universities also provide Praktek Pengalaman Lapangan (PPL) or field experience practice to give the real experience for pre-service teachers. It is almost similar with PDSs in US. Nevertheless, the scope may be more limited than PDSs provided. The pre-service teachers are given time to observe and teach at school in several months ranging one to three months. The idea emerges that PPL duration must be lengthened. The reason is very simple. How can the pre-service teachers understand the situation at that school in the short limited time? What can they do to solve problems faced by schools? How do they engage the schools’ community? Do they make some research to improve their teaching? Do they know all the school activities along a year that can teach them how to hold those activities well? Those questions may not be done in the short time allocation. The universities should think more about those issues to produce better outputs of teachers.

As what we learned in classroom, the teacher education enrollment at Indonesian universities does not assess the pedagogical aspect for their requirements. They only test the content knowledge that the students learned at the Senior high school level. The system of the universities enrolling the new teacher education students is also important as a part in preparing the professional teachers. It is still questioning whether the institution should test the pedagogy or not because the high-quality teachers must have both good content and pedagogical knowledge. If the universities test the pedagogy aspect, it may become unfair because the new students were not taught how to teach in their senior high school.

If the teacher gives the result to the school progressions, will they also affect toward the school regressions? Ravitch (2010: p. 155) revealed that in US, “a teacher and principal was fired for correcting students’ answers before handing in the tests or leaking the questions in advance to students”. In Indonesia, mass cheating was found at a school in East Java. The teacher at that school instructed the students in advance to cheat each other in order to make the entire students pass the national examination. These two examples can be a sign that the teacher quality assists a big result toward education. The teacher that is product-oriented usually does not have a big attention to the students’ progress. He emphasizes the product rather than the process. They did not give some good sustainable series of formative tests to allow the students learn from mistake (Zulfikar, 2009). If the teacher has prepared all well since the beginning, he will never do such tricky effort to get a good score. Thus, teacher may also direct his school quality to not only better but also worse improvement.

The new era of teacher education reform must be started from now. The financial problem found along the past must have been solved after the Indonesian government enacts the certification to increase the teacher salary. They are expected to dedicate their most time for their students. They are encouraged to develop their content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, curriculum knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, knowledge of learners, knowledge of educational contexts, and knowledge of educational ends, purpose and values (Shulman, 1987 p. 8). In contrast with the situation in the past, the teachers should work harder because their right –improved salary- has been fulfilled. They have a responsibility to bring the education to be better. They must love teaching, improve their capability in managing the classroom, and hold some researches to improve their pedagogy.


Baise, Marilynne Boyle, & McIntyre, D. John. (2008). What Kind of Experience: Preparing Teachers in PDS or Community setting. New York and London: Routledge.

Beeby, C. E. (1982). Pendidikan di Indonesia: Penilaian dan Pedoman Perencanaan. Jakarta: LP3ES.

Bjork, Cristopher. (2005). Indonesian Education Teachers, Schools, and Central Bureaucracy. New York and London: Routledge.

Ministry of Education (MONE). (2010). RENSTRA (Strategic Plans) Year 2010-2014.

Ravitch, Diane. (2010). American School System: How Testing and Choice are undermining Education. New York: A Member of Perseus Books Group.

Shulman, Lee S. (Vol. 57 No.1 February 1987). Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform. Harvard Educational Review. 0017-8055/87/0200-0001$01.25/0.

Winarto, Yunita T. (2006). Family Education and Culture in Indonesia: The complex, intermingled, and dynamic phenomena. Paper presented at the international conference on: “Cross-cultural Perspectives on Family Education in Southest Asian Countries”, Graduate Institute of Family Education, National ChiaYi University, ChiaYi Taiwan R.O.C., 26-27 October 2006.

Zulfikar, Teuku. (vol. 2 2009). The making of Indonesian Education: An Overview on Empowering Indonesian Teachers. Journal of Indonesian Social Sciences and Humanities. URN: NBN: NL: UI: 10-1-100135.

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