Indonesia is a country with 217.586 schools, 45.379.879 students and 2.718.861 teachers, but unfortunately we are also one of the lowest performing education in the world. Every 3 years since 2000, Indonesia and other countries have taken the PISA test, which was last held in 2018. There are 3 aspects to assess the PISA score, namely reading, mathematics, and science. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Indonesia is ranked 74th out of 79 countries. We are very behind with our own neighbours such as Singapore, Thailand, and even Malaysia. With this low PISA score we can ask what really happened to education in Indonesia? Is our education problematic?
Prof. Lant Pritchett from Harvard University conducted research on education in Indonesia and it turned out that children in Indonesia were 128 years behind compared to other countries. What? Why did it go that far? The answer is the quality of education.
When we talk about education, surely we discuss school, school definitely about teachers. But unfortunately, the performance of our teachers is very poor. This was proofed by the results of the National Teacher Competency Test where the results show the average performance score of our teachers is 53 out of 100. What happens if the teacher who is supposed to teach us turns out to be unable to teach us well?
PISA doesn't test student's abilities based on the things they can memorize, or the focus is on memorizing, but PISA looks at how students can be prepared to live their life. In contrast to the reality of education in Indonesia, the majority of learning in Indonesia is memorization only. We realize that memorizing alone is not enough to prepare us for life. It takes the ability to face challenges, to be able to analyze and to think logically well, as well as the ability to learn continuously. These 3 things are fundamental so that we can live life, but we cannot get all of these things in the Indonesian education system. The education system in Indonesia focuses on memorization and is value-oriented only.
Every child is born with different abilities. There are children who like to do math, there are children who like to draw. Then, are they wrong if they can't do the things they don't like? And are they supposed to do math and draw well? Of course not! The weakness of Indonesia’s education is when each child can’t be sure that he is different from others. Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. That is the problem in Indonesia, when every child with different abilities is uniformed and forced to understand and be able to do everything.
Departing from the above problems, we must realize that the quality of life of a country is determined by education. And it is our duty to fight together, from the government, our schools, teachers, community, and the students themselves to advance the quality of education in Indonesia. In the end, let us join hands to bring Indonesia to become a developed country and be able to compete with other countries.