2010 Indonesia Update
Employment, living standars and poverty in contemporary Indonesia
24-25 September 2010, Coombs Lecture Theatre, ANU
Convenors: Chris Manning and Sudarno Sumarto
Does improving education quality reduce poverty? Daniel Suryadarma, ANU
Indonesia has experienced sustained success in promoting school participation. After achieving universal primary school attainment in 1988, secondary school participation has been an increasing trend and is comparable to that of other emerging economies. Despite the positive trend, however, Indonesian policymakers are facing a different kind of challenge: Indonesian children continue to be ranked near the bottom in international mathematics and science assessments, performing at a level similar to children from much poorer nations; indicating that school quality in Indonesia remains very low. Given that school quality, not quantity, is a strong predictor for strong economic performance and improved living standards, researchers and policymakers must collaborate to determine the best policy prescriptions and interventions that could improve school quality. In this presentation, I will identify several pressing challenges faced by Indonesian schools in their quest to improve quality. These include low community participation, high teacher absence, low teacher qualifications, and an unbalanced distribution of teachers, especially in remote areas. I will also describe several efforts that are currently underway to identify policies that could overcome these challenges.
Education challenges in Indonesia with special reference to Islamic schooling Risti Permana, University of Adelaide The paper aims to assess recent development in the education sector in Indonesia with special reference to Islamic secondary schools. The Islamic education sector is of great and growing importance within the Indonesian education system. Yet, many challenges remain. Islamic schools in Indonesia are often seen as ‘second class schools’. Most students come from low-income families. Any effective government policy to improve the quality of Madrasah schooling could therefore be strategic to reduce income inequality, targeting especially the lower end of population distribution. Finding an appropriate method to deal with Madrasah problems requires a closer look at their underlying characteristics. The first part of this paper therefore aims to understand characteristics of Madrasah students including their parents’ characteristics so that we can place rational expectations on their academic performance. Policy reviews are presented at the end of the paper.