Blog, Politics

On Teachers Welfare

Instead of spending time with students, a large group of teachers hit the streets of Jakarta on Thursday to voice out their demands to improve welfare and to put pressures to lawmakers and government to implement the People’s Consultative Assembly decree to allocate 20% of the state budget fund for education purposes.

We support the demand. The questions, among others, are where, how and when the decree shall be implemented. The when is obvious: at the earliest possible date, or it in fact should already be yesterday. The where and how, however, needs a little bit more in-depth analysis.

Where the fund shall be channeled to? The easiest answer is to allocate it to whatever sectors that contributes to the improvements of the education. Easy answer, however, is seldom the best answer.

The how is related with the plan and control, as a significant portion of the fund will certainly be used ineffectively without proper plan and control. The concern of potential mass corruptions is there, especially when the funds are used to improve or upgrade facilities and infrastructures.

Teachers salary and allowances are relatively low, we know it. No questions that the situations shall be improved. Increasing teachers’ welfare, however, will not necessarily correlate with the improvements of the quality of the teachings, but it will surely help, and there is a good argument about it.

More rigorous trainings are needed and measurements shall be in place on the quality of the teachers. The knowledge and the way it is delivered shall be measured. Those who are not qualified shall attend further trainings or reassigned to non-teaching jobs. Good remunerations shall be accompanied by proper punishments.

We need good teachers, the best possible ones. The best teachers come from the best students graduated from the best universities, who are then trained well with teaching methods and skills, with passion for learning and teaching.

Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) is considered as the best school in the country, primarily because of people’s perceptions that its alumni are highly marketable and that they can make a good living by holding its degree. ITB therefore can attract and only accept the best out of the best students.

For Universitas Negeri Jakarta (UNJ), previously known as IKIP Jakarta (Teachers Training Institute), to be able to attract the best students, it must build the kind of reputation. There was a cooperation between UNJ and ITB signed in the year of 1999, where ITB would provide assistance to upgrade UNJ faculty members.

Until now, however, students and parents have not yet been convinced that profession as teachers is a good and prestigious one. There is no proof yet. It is not surprising that UNJ has never been parents and students' favorites.

Hence, we certainly need to upgrade teachers welfare, as one of the conditions to attract the best students to enroll to teachers training institutes. The availability of excellent learning facilities and infrastructures for the teachers to improve their knowledge and wisdom are also needed.

Invest heavily on education and research, and this country will be one of the most respected countries in the region within just a few decades. Wanna bet?

, seorang pejalan musiman dan penyuka sejarah. Penduduk Jakarta yang sedang tinggal di Cikarang Utara. Diperbarui: July 20, 2007.

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