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INDONESIA POLLS: Presidential debate on education, research failed to impress

Publication Date : 01-07-2014


The fourth round of Indonesia's presidential debates that featured the two vice presidential hopefuls on Sunday offered a mere glimpse of potential future improvements in education and research, as well as in the implementation of existing policies.

Jusuf Kalla, the running mate of candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, faced off with Hatta Rajasa, Prabowo Subianto’s vice presidential candidate.

During the debate, Kalla stressed the need to improve character building and the professionalism of teachers, while Hatta spoke of how to improve research for the use of businesses.

Jakarta State University (UNJ) rector Djaali said on Monday that while he welcomed the candidates’ programs, the need for future leaders to engage more in improving teaching institutions should be stressed.

Djaali said improving the institutions, which produced qualified teachers, would be just as important as focusing on the welfare of the teachers.

According to Djaali, there are currently 12 universities dedicated to producing teachers (LPTK), as well as another 24 state-teaching education faculties (FKIP).

Djaali suggested the next government should focus on improving these facilities to support the education process.

He also said such facilities would help prospective teachers interact with other elements of the faculty environment, as well as provide them with much-needed guidance.

“To produce good teachers, it isn’t enough to improve their education and teaching methodologies. There is also a need for teachers to be able to grasp the soul of teaching,” he said.

“Teachers are at the forefront of education. They should master the skill of character building,” Djaali said.

Education expert Doni Koesoema, who is also an advisor to the Federation of Indonesian Teachers Association (FSGI), said the debate offered little in terms of education innovation, and that both candidates needed to focus on improving the implementation of existing policies and regulations.

“Both camps [Hatta and Kalla] need to focus on the fundamental issues plaguing the education system,” Doni said.

Doni, who is also a teacher, said that teaching subsidies remained in need of improvement, but underlined that one of the biggest problems in the education system was unrealistic regulations.

Doni also said the education evaluation system needed to be revamped, especially in terms of integrating and improving the 2013 education curriculum and the national exams.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Indria Samego said increasing the research budget to 10 trillion rupiah (US$834 million) for five years as proposed by Hatta was still not enough.

“It’s still far from optimal,” Indria said.


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