What is quality education?

            Within the notion of quality
there exists a myriad of conceptualizations, forms, variations, and
interpretations related to formal educational objectives and desired
outcomes—as well as to ideological positions, agendas and contextual factors. In
most general terms one can consider “quality
as or quality for…” to take many forms in education, including but not
limited to, learning outcomes (in a wide array of forms, subject areas, skills,
values, etc.); student performance measured by scores on tests; rankings of
countries according to scores on international studies of student performance;
curriculum reform or enhancement with idealized notions and
values/content/skills as well as teacher qualities; null curriculum and hidden
curriculum, and their implications for quality of the curriculum and students’
learning; whole-system reform and modernization; job relevance with skills
acquisition and employment; and addressing local cultural, community, and
students’ needs (or failing to do this). In these instances quality efforts
look to achievement of desirable outcomes, the attainment of ends—with some of
these being inputs and others being outputs if one is thinking in terms of a
linear factory model system. (Napier, 2014)

            A
study from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) applied a concept
that is stresses on functional literacy, emphasizing its essence in quality
education for social integration. It defines literacy as the ability to “use
printed and written material to function in society” and measures it in three
distinct dimensions (for details see Kirsch 2001): Prose literacy refers to the ability to understand and use
information from a variety of texts, such as newspaper articles or poems; document literacy refers to the ability
to locate and use information contained in a variety of formal documents, such
as medical prescriptions or job applications; and quantitative literacy refers to the ability to master everyday
mathematical skills such as those involved in balancing a checkbook or
calculating tip. (Pfeffer, 2012)           

            However,
in order to achieve the entire literacy dimension to its fullest, quality
teaching is the primary key. It includes all people who teach—teacher,
lecturer, professor, etc. Research points out that quality teaching is
necessarily student-centered; its aim is most and for all student learning.
Thus, attention should be given not simply to the teacher’s pedagogical skills,
but also to the learning environment that must address the students’ personal
needs: students should know why they are working, should be able to relate to
other students and to receive help if needed. Adequate support to staff and
students (financial support, social and academic support, support to minority
students, counseling services, etc.) also improves learning outcomes. Learning
communities—group of students and/or teachers who learn collaboratively and
build knowledge through intellectual interaction—are judged to enhance student
learning by increasing students’ and teachers’ satisfaction. (Henard and
Leprince-Ringuet, 2012)

 

Why is quality education important?

            Time
ticks. The world never stops evolving and changing. Technology is dominating
the lives of the earth’s creatures, prominently humans. Globalization is the
word that would never be unheard nor be heard strange for any pair of ears in
the world. Anyone can access and gain anything from around the globe. The needs
to improve, move forward, and compete with other beings gradually live within
every human race. From there, it clearly can be seen how today’s population are
getting modernized which is definitely a product or an output of what schools,
colleges, universities and other educational institutions have taught them.
That is absolutely applied to Indonesia as well. Indeed, education is an
essential component in building and developing all aspect of Indonesia—whether
it is infrastructure, government, natural resources, cultural heritage, etc.,
especially for its people.

            In addition, many of the inequalities found in education
systems are already evident when children enter formal schooling; these persist
(or increase) as they progress through the school system. Enrolling children in
ECE1 helps prepare them to enter and succeed in formal schooling,
mitigates social inequalities and promotes better student outcomes. There is a
growing body of evidence that shows that children who have a strong start in
their development, learning and well-being will have better outcomes when they
grow older (Duncan and Magnuson, 2013). Such evidence has prompted policy
makers to design early interventions and rethink their education spending
patterns to gain “value for money”. (OECD, 2017)

 

How has education been in Indonesia?

            In Indonesia, according to Suratno ,
the “New Order” (1966—1998) purified such “deviant ideas” to generate
“Pancasila-ist people for development”. Therefore, universal-education
initiatives six-year basic education (1984) and nine-year basic education
(1994) rapidly developed. Since the 1970s, the government has built tens of
thousands of elementary schools in almost all villages. Considering education
as a human-capital investment, since the 1990s the government has constantly
improved access to, and the quality and role of, education in promoting
economic development           Indonesia
has lots of ups and downs in developing the country and its people’s education,
especially when it comes to curriculum.

            Suratno explained further that in
the era of decentralization, the government created Curriculum 2004, which was then
handed over to an independent institution the National Agency of Education
Standard, to formulate core-subject competencies and develop the School-Based
Curriculum in 2006. This was an era in which teachers had the authority to
develop the curriculum based on the idea of “experiential and contextual
learning”. Within the implementation, there was criticism on the administrative
approach to school curriculum quality assurance. Many teachers were overwhelmed
in developing syllabi, which hinders them in improving their instructional
practices. This motivated the government to implement Curriculum 2013, which
puts emphasis on the mastery of core competencies by putting forward a
“project-based and scientific approach”. The government provides syllabi,
student textbooks, and teacher handbooks. However, the initiative has been
criticized by independent teacher association because of hasty preparation and
centralized and uniform approaches that may diminish teachers’ authority.
Today, that curriculum is being implemented in a small number of schools.

            Besides rapid curriculum change,
there is a controversy about high-stakes testing in this era. The government
carries out national examinations as an attempt to map the quality of education
by setting minimum standards to pass one subject. In practice, it has the
biggest role in determining students’ graduation. This is the point criticized
by the alliance of parents, teachers, and students. In addition, many parts of
the media recount systematic cheating happening in almost all schools.
(Suratno, 2014)       

 

Who is responsible for quality education in Indonesia?

            According
to chapter IV of Indonesian law number 20 year 2003 on education, there are
four parties who have rights and responsibilities for education in Indonesia.
There are the country’s people, parents, society, and the government—both
central and regional government. There are also specific articles explaining in
detail what their rights and responsibilities are:

Article 6

(1)  
Every
Indonesian aged seven to fifteen year old must follow basic education.

(2)  
Every
Indonesian is responsible towards the happening of educational acts.

Article 7

(1)  
Parents
should take a role in choosing educational level and gaining information about
their children’s educational development.

 

(2)  
Parents
from the children at must-learn age, should give basic education to their
children.

Article 8

Society
is responsible in taking a role in planning, acting, supervising, and
evaluating educational programs.

Article 9

Society
is responsible in giving resources support in educational acts.

Article 10

Government
and regional government should direct, guide, help, and supervise educational
acts based on the applicable law.

Article 11

(1)  
Government
and regional government must give service and convenience and guarantee the
quality educational acts for every Indonesian without any discrimination.

(2)  
Government
and regional government must guarantee the availability of grants for
educational accessibility for every Indonesian aged seven to fifteen year
old. 

In
other words, every single Indonesian individual is responsible in taking role
for education in Indonesia, importantly for its better
improvement. In accordance with the second, fourth, and fifth sila—”a just and civilized
humanity”, “democracy, led by the wisdom of the representatives of the People”,
and “social justice for all Indonesians”—this should prove that education is
available for all Indonesians. By integrating every party’s synergy and spirit,
it is absolutely possible to make thousand millions educated people, not only
in the big cities, but also in suburban areas, villages, and other small areas
for our beloved country.