What is quality education? Within the notion of qualitythere exists a myriad of conceptualizations, forms, variations, andinterpretations related to formal educational objectives and desiredoutcomes—as well as to ideological positions, agendas and contextual factors.
Inmost general terms one can consider “qualityas or quality for…” to take many forms in education, including but notlimited to, learning outcomes (in a wide array of forms, subject areas, skills,values, etc.); student performance measured by scores on tests; rankings ofcountries according to scores on international studies of student performance;curriculum reform or enhancement with idealized notions andvalues/content/skills as well as teacher qualities; null curriculum and hiddencurriculum, and their implications for quality of the curriculum and students’learning; whole-system reform and modernization; job relevance with skillsacquisition and employment; and addressing local cultural, community, andstudents’ needs (or failing to do this). In these instances quality effortslook to achievement of desirable outcomes, the attainment of ends—with some ofthese being inputs and others being outputs if one is thinking in terms of alinear factory model system.
(Napier, 2014) Astudy from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) applied a conceptthat is stresses on functional literacy, emphasizing its essence in qualityeducation for social integration. It defines literacy as the ability to “useprinted and written material to function in society” and measures it in threedistinct dimensions (for details see Kirsch 2001): Prose literacy refers to the ability to understand and useinformation from a variety of texts, such as newspaper articles or poems; document literacy refers to the abilityto locate and use information contained in a variety of formal documents, suchas medical prescriptions or job applications; and quantitative literacy refers to the ability to master everydaymathematical skills such as those involved in balancing a checkbook orcalculating tip. (Pfeffer, 2012) However,in order to achieve the entire literacy dimension to its fullest, qualityteaching is the primary key. It includes all people who teach—teacher,lecturer, professor, etc.
Research points out that quality teaching isnecessarily 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’ personalneeds: students should know why they are working, should be able to relate toother students and to receive help if needed. Adequate support to staff andstudents (financial support, social and academic support, support to minoritystudents, counseling services, etc.) also improves learning outcomes. Learningcommunities—group of students and/or teachers who learn collaboratively andbuild knowledge through intellectual interaction—are judged to enhance studentlearning by increasing students’ and teachers’ satisfaction.
(Henard andLeprince-Ringuet, 2012) Why is quality education important? Timeticks. The world never stops evolving and changing. Technology is dominatingthe lives of the earth’s creatures, prominently humans. Globalization is theword that would never be unheard nor be heard strange for any pair of ears inthe world.
Anyone can access and gain anything from around the globe. The needsto improve, move forward, and compete with other beings gradually live withinevery human race. From there, it clearly can be seen how today’s population aregetting 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 anessential component in building and developing all aspect of Indonesia—whetherit is infrastructure, government, natural resources, cultural heritage, etc.,especially for its people. In addition, many of the inequalities found in educationsystems are already evident when children enter formal schooling; these persist(or increase) as they progress through the school system. Enrolling children inECE1 helps prepare them to enter and succeed in formal schooling,mitigates social inequalities and promotes better student outcomes. There is agrowing body of evidence that shows that children who have a strong start intheir development, learning and well-being will have better outcomes when theygrow older (Duncan and Magnuson, 2013).
Such evidence has prompted policymakers to design early interventions and rethink their education spendingpatterns 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-educationinitiatives six-year basic education (1984) and nine-year basic education(1994) rapidly developed. Since the 1970s, the government has built tens ofthousands of elementary schools in almost all villages. Considering educationas a human-capital investment, since the 1990s the government has constantlyimproved access to, and the quality and role of, education in promotingeconomic development Indonesiahas lots of ups and downs in developing the country and its people’s education,especially when it comes to curriculum.
Suratno explained further that inthe era of decentralization, the government created Curriculum 2004, which was thenhanded over to an independent institution the National Agency of EducationStandard, to formulate core-subject competencies and develop the School-BasedCurriculum in 2006. This was an era in which teachers had the authority todevelop the curriculum based on the idea of “experiential and contextuallearning”. Within the implementation, there was criticism on the administrativeapproach to school curriculum quality assurance.
Many teachers were overwhelmedin developing syllabi, which hinders them in improving their instructionalpractices. This motivated the government to implement Curriculum 2013, whichputs 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 beencriticized by independent teacher association because of hasty preparation andcentralized 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 governmentcarries out national examinations as an attempt to map the quality of educationby setting minimum standards to pass one subject. In practice, it has thebiggest role in determining students’ graduation.
This is the point criticizedby the alliance of parents, teachers, and students. In addition, many parts ofthe media recount systematic cheating happening in almost all schools.(Suratno, 2014) Who is responsible for quality education in Indonesia? Accordingto chapter IV of Indonesian law number 20 year 2003 on education, there arefour parties who have rights and responsibilities for education in Indonesia.
There are the country’s people, parents, society, and the government—bothcentral and regional government. There are also specific articles explaining indetail what their rights and responsibilities are:Article 6(1) EveryIndonesian aged seven to fifteen year old must follow basic education.(2) EveryIndonesian is responsible towards the happening of educational acts. Article 7(1) Parentsshould take a role in choosing educational level and gaining information abouttheir children’s educational development.
(2) Parentsfrom the children at must-learn age, should give basic education to theirchildren.Article 8Societyis responsible in taking a role in planning, acting, supervising, andevaluating educational programs.Article 9Societyis responsible in giving resources support in educational acts. Article 10Governmentand regional government should direct, guide, help, and supervise educationalacts based on the applicable law.Article 11(1) Governmentand regional government must give service and convenience and guarantee thequality educational acts for every Indonesian without any discrimination.(2) Governmentand regional government must guarantee the availability of grants foreducational accessibility for every Indonesian aged seven to fifteen yearold.
Inother words, every single Indonesian individual is responsible in taking rolefor education in Indonesia, importantly for its betterimprovement. In accordance with the second, fourth, and fifth sila—”a just and civilizedhumanity”, “democracy, led by the wisdom of the representatives of the People”,and “social justice for all Indonesians”—this should prove that education isavailable for all Indonesians. By integrating every party’s synergy and spirit,it is absolutely possible to make thousand millions educated people, not onlyin the big cities, but also in suburban areas, villages, and other small areasfor our beloved country.