The school term just started about three weeks ago. This year, government finally decided to try out the new designed curriculum, the 2013 curriculum. Thousands of schools, ranging from elementary (SD), junior high (SMP), and senior high (SMA) have participated in this try out. Despite the debate on the lack of preparation and infrastructure, the 2013 curriculum offers many new features in our education system.
Unlike the previous one, the 2013 curriculum will be IT-based. Ministry of Education and Culture has set up a website to oversee the implementation of the 2013 curriculum. The website provides details of curriculum implementation, including teachers guide and subject materials.
The curriculum, however, scraps Computer or IT from the compulsory high school subjects. Students are not required to sit in the class for computer subject, rather, they can learn it outside classroom. In return, science subjects (mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry) and religion subject have additional one hour contact time each.
For senior high school students, the 2013 curriculum gives them opportunity to learn another subjects from the other major. For example, a student from natural science major can take some subjects in social science or language/culture major, such as sociology or economy. Students can take whichever subject that they like. In fact, students are free to choose major and up to two cross-major subjects as early as they enter senior high school. With this new feature, the Ministry hopes to abolish the paradigm that the students who get into natural science stream are smarter and better than the others.
To implement this new curriculum, the government has budgeted over IDR829 billion. This is part of the 20% of national budget for education sector. Most of the budget is intended for infrastructure such as teachers training and books. However, books distributions are so disorganized that a number of schools do not obtain the books yet. In addition, teachers training was done just several days before the school started. It makes teachers’ preparation for the new curriculum too rush and ineffective.
Many criticisms were leveled against the Ministry for the 2013 curriculum implementation. As the cost is high, lack of preparation has stirred dissatisfaction in the society. Multiple doubts are directed towards the effectiveness of the curriculum in enhancing students’ skills in the face of less-than-ready teachers and infrastructure. Some even voices their concerns over the possibility of the implementation of the 2013 curriculum as a way for the current government to take credit and use it as a tool for political campaign in 2014.
Regardless of the intention of the government, in my opinion, the 2013 curriculum has shown substantial conceptual improvement from the previous one. Before the government decided to implement the curriculum in 6,326 schools and asked 74,289 teachers to participate, they have consulted education experts and underwent long development process. It began from internal discussion with the education experts, to presentation to the vice president and parliament, and finally, public examination. In this light, the concepts themselves must not be that bad. The more pressing and pertinent question therefore is the implementation. How can the government ensure the implementation is fully carried out in accordance to the concepts written on the paper?
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