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Education in Indonesia

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics | Indonesia Project
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Event details

Indonesia Study Group

Date & time

Wednesday 19 February 2020
12.30pm–2.00pm

Venue

Coombs Seminar Room E, Coombs Building 9, Fellows Road, ANU

Speaker

Shintia Revina and Niken Rarasati, SMERU Research Institute

Contacts

ANU Indonesia Project
61 2 6125 5954

Drivers and inhibitors of local education innovations in Indonesia

Shintia Revina, SMERU Research Institute

Why are some districts’ education system highly innovative and some are not? We argue that innovation is a social activity and thus innovative districts are distinguished by strong local capacity built on top of a rich social capital reserve. To understand this complex process, we conducted long-term ethnographic research in West Sumatra, Yogyakarta, and South Sulawesi. Our findings suggest that districts with strong social network and collective action have meaningful public engagement with education policies that lead to more innovative education systems.

In Bukittinggi, West Sumatera, social network that exists between school principals and teachers within school cluster which resulted in effective inter-school collaboration. In the city of Yogyakarta, under the philosophy of collaboration (gandeng gendong), the local government reinforced the importance to build networks between five elements: local communities, education institution, local government agencies, private sectors and community-service organization (CSO) to foster a highly conducive environment for learning. However, the Gowa district in South Sulawesi lacks strong academic output despite its initiatives.

The researchers found that principals, teachers, parents, or members of the community were not able to participate in policy decision-making processes. Schools have limited capability to implement the local government initiative, let alone create innovation. Therefore, social capital has been pivotal to support ambitious implementation of innovation, beyond financial resources or physical infrastructure alone. This finding suggests district government need to invest in the development of social network and establishment of social norm of trust among individuals and between institutions, just as they do in the development of education infrastructures. In fact, policy innovation which overlook this aspect would cause many incongruencies in its implementation.

Learning to run before walking: a system-level analysis of education in Indonesia

Niken Rarasati, SMERU Research Institute

The education system in Indonesia varies a lot. In some districts it is highly innovative, but in others it is left behind. Innovation is a social activity and thus innovative districts are distinguished by strong local capacity built on top of a rich social capital reserve. To understand this complex process, the researchers conducted long-term ethnographic research in West Sumatra, Yogyakarta, and South Sulawesi. Their findings suggest that districts with strong social networks and collective action have meaningful public engagement with education policies resulting in more innovative education systems.

In Bukittinggi, West Sumatera, the social network between school principals and teachers within school cluster leads to effective inter-school collaboration. In the city of Yogyakarta, under gandeng gendong (a local philosophy of collaboration), the local government reinforces the importance of building networks between five elements: local communities, education institutions, local government agencies, private sectors and community-service organisations (CSO) to foster a highly conducive environment for learning. In contrast, the Gowa district in South Sulawesi lacks strong academic output despite its initiatives. The researchers find that principals, teachers, parents, or members of the community are not able to participate in policy decision-making processes. Schools have limited capability to implement local government initiatives, let alone to create innovation.

The researchers conclude, therefore, that social capital is necessary for an ambitious implementation of innovation, beyond financial resources and physical infrastructure. District governments need to invest in the development of social networks among individuals and between institutions, just as they do in the development of education infrastructures. Policy innovation that overlooks this aspect might cause incongruencies in its implementation.

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