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Indonesian students are getting left out by children their age globally because of the pandemic. According to a recent study, Indonesias could miss the chance to catch up in terms of education as they continue to have prolonged inaccessibility to knowledge.
Since March, most Indonesian schools are still closed as authorities struggle to contain the coronavirus’s rapid spread. Teachers and experts in the medical field are against the reopening of schools that the government is considering.
Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country with more than 157,800 reported cases of the coronavirus disease or Covid-19. Moreover, Indonesia has the second-highest cumulative infections in Southeast Asia, according to Johns Hopkins University data. However, the country’s death toll of over 6,800 is the most significant region, the data presented.
According to a situation report conducted by the World Health Organization, this August, children ages 9 to 14 account for 6.8% of Indonesia’s reported cases. This percentage is “well above” the global average of 2.5% and can rise if face-to-face lessons resume. Indonesia faces a problem with reopening schools amidst the pandemic since they already have a “low and stagnant” education quality. The government presumes that keeping schools closed will be detrimental to Indonesia’s nearly 69 million students. A report of Singaporean think tank ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute supports this fact.
“Before the school closure, Indonesia’s education quality could already be characterized as low and stagnant,” said the report published a week ago. It emphasized that the performance of the country’s 15-year-olds in the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, “had not progressed much between 2003 and 2018.”
“Therefore, school closure poses a significant risk that the little learning that Indonesian students gain in school may diminish,” it reported.
PISA is a global study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The study compares the performance of 15-year-olds globally in learning areas such as reading, mathematics, and science with the results commonly utilized by policymakers to design education policies.
The report conducted by ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute analyzed the results from ten surveys done from April to June this year to comprehend how schools’ closure influences learning among Indonesian students.
Various Indonesian and international agencies headed the surveys. They interviewed school principals, teachers, students of different education levels, and school-aged children’s parents.
The analysis showed that there is likely a widening in “learning inequalities” for Indonesian students because of the school shutdown. Some students might never make up for the loss of learning during the pandemic. “In the long-term, these inequalities would translate into widening socioeconomic inequalities,” ISEAS said.
The think tank outlined in its report how Indonesia could give solutions to this problem. First, the Ministry of Education and Culture should immediately find ways to measure students’ abilities during school closures to determine the severity of learning losses.
Following this, the ministry must encourage teachers to assess students’ learning levels regularly, and then adapt their lessons correspondingly, said ISEAS. The head can influence teachers to try a method they’re most prepared with for now, before providing added training when the pandemic has abated, the think tank said.
Only around 40% of Indonesians have internet access, most of which are in urban areas such as capital city Jakarta, according to ISEAS. This report means that while schools are close, “children in rural Indonesia with no access to internet connections face a severe limitation in receiving education services,” ISEAS mentioned.
“The larger implication is that studying from home is unlikely to be effective in Indonesia,” it said