Education Report Shows Indonesia Losing Ground
Jakarta. Indonesia has achieved only half of the global target for early childhood education, while its rate of primary school enrollment has dropped and the number of primary school-aged children not in school has doubled since 2010.
These were among some of the key findings published last week in the Education for All global monitoring report from the United Nations education agency, or Unesco, based on 2012 data.
The report found that Indonesia had doubled the proportion of children receiving an early childhood, or pre-primary, education, from 24 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2012. But this was still far short of the indicative target of 80 percent set in the Education for All goals, launched in 2000.
Indonesia fared worse on this metric than Malaysia (70 percent), Vietnam (79 percent) and Brunei (92 percent).
The Education Ministry attributes the low early childhood education enrollment on the fact that the government only began seriously focusing on pre-primary learning in the final years of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration.
“But now we’ve been vigorously expanding the outreach of early childhood education,” Furqon, the head of the ministry’s research and development division, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
“We now have the ‘one early childhood education center per village’ program, as well as the ‘early childhood education mother’ program,” he added.
The first program targets the opening of early childhood education centers in every village and urban ward, while the latter employs housewives to teach at these centers on part-time or volunteer basis.
“We do have to pay more attention on early childhood education because this will heavily influence the future development of a child, in their adolescence and so on,” Furqon acknowledged.
The Unesco report, titled “Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges,” details achievements, or the lack thereof, of six education goals set in 2000 by region and per individual countries.
Aside from the early childhood care and education goal, there are goals on: universal primary education, secondary education, adult literacy, gender equality, and education quality.
On primary education, Indonesia’s primary school enrollment slid slightly from 97 percent of its primary age population in 2000 to 95 percent in 2012, falling short of the target of 100 percent.
Indonesia’s 2012 score was lower than that of Laos (96 percent), Vietnam (98 percent) and Cambodia (98 percent), which all saw their enrollment rates improve.
The number of children who did not go to primary school in Indonesia reached 1.336 million in 2012, the highest in the East Asia and the Pacific region and double the figure in 2000.
In secondary education, the percentage of children who completed lower secondary school went up from around 50 percent in 2000 to 76 percent in 2012. The number of adolescents who did not go to school dropped by more than half — from 3.5 million to 1.7 million.
Indonesia did well on gender equality in education. In 2000, there were two fewer girls for every 100 boys enrolled at primary schools; 12 years on, the ratio was at parity. In secondary education, there were two fewer girls enrolled for every 100 boys in 2000 — that figure reversed to three fewer boys enrolled for every 100 girls in 2012.
Indonesia’s education spending, albeit having met its own constitutional mandate of 20 percent of state expenditure, failed to meet the EFA target of 4 percent of gross domestic product.
Indonesia’s education spending was the equivalent of 3 percent of GDP in 2000 and 2012. Furqon said he was not aware of any government plans to boost education spending to 4 percent of GDP.
“What we’re focusing on right now is how to use the existing funds more effectively, so that they can be more beneficial to education development,” he said.
Unesco said that globally, only a third of countries had achieved all the EFA goals, and half had achieved “the most watched” goal of universal primary enrollment.
An extra $22 billion a year is needed on top of already ambitious government contributions in order to ensure that countries achieve new education targets being set for the year 2030, it says.
“The world has made tremendous progress towards Education for All,” said Unesco director general Irina Bokova in a press statement. “Despite not meeting the 2015 deadline, millions more children are in school than would have been had the trends of the 1990s persisted.
“However, the agenda is far from finished. We need to see specific, well-funded strategies that prioritize the poorest — especially girls — improve the quality of learning and reduce the literacy gap so that education becomes meaningful and universal.”
Source: The Jakarta Globe