JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s schools are set to take the first tentative steps towards normality, after four cabinet ministers issued a Joint Ministerial Decree [SKB] to cautiously allow face to face learning in educational institutions for the 2021-2022 school year.
Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy said the policy is signed by Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin, and Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian.
“We are projected to begin limited face to face classes at the start of the academic year in July 2021, once the government vaccinated to the faculty and staff of schools,” he said of the decree during a press conference Tuesday.
Nadiem reiterated Muhadjir. “I urge provincial administrations throughout Indonesia to ensure that the requirements for limited face to face learning, such as attendance, be met,” said the former entrepreneur.
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“I also call on them to monitor and evaluate the progress of the classes, as well as provide safe transportation to and from the schools,” said the founder of the GoJek startup unicorn.
He maintained that discipline is key, particularly in testing for symptoms and tracing if any positive cases are found.
Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian agreed. “I hope that provincial administrations nationwide have a good understanding of the decree so they can practice the policy correctly before it gets fully up and running at a later date,” he said.
The Indonesian Child Protection Commission or KPAI called for safeguards from the schools.
“The reopening of schools for limited face to face learning should be based on factors like their readiness, standard operating procedures [SOP], and vaccinated faculty,” said KPAI Commissioner Retno Listyarti.
“The Ministry of Education and Culture should also ensure that the schools fill out a form on the Ministry’s website about their readiness to hold face to face learning To date, just 50 percent of schools [nationwide] filled out the form,” she added.
“Of that number, only 10 percent confirmed that they are ready. For this reason, provincial administrations nationwide should proceed cautiously in proceeding with [opening] schools.”
The government’s decision received mixed reaction from parents.
“I think my child can learn better if their teacher taught them directly in the classroom. His prolonged time at home and the boredom it induces makes him lazy and bored” said 36-year old Sawitri, a mother to a third grader.
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“He lacks focus in online classes, to the point that he does not do his assignments. I am not too worried about him contracting Covid-19, as the correct application of health protocols will protect him from the pandemic,” she asserted.
“My child still plays with the neighbor’s children, though they are often forced to stay at home. It just depends on using face masks and other precautions at all times.”
But for Sutari, the mother of a five-year old child, the pandemic still plays on her mind. “I am concerned that the kindergarten I will enroll him in cannot sufficiently apply health protocols, making him vulnerable to Covid-19,” the city of South Tangerang resident said.
“For that reason, I will defer his enrollment until the pandemic is really over. For now, he can learn from home, as [his father] and I will teach him.”
The moratorium on face to face learning in Indonesia has applied from elementary and secondary schools to universities and other higher education institutions.
(Writers: Haryanti Puspa Sari, Sania Mashabi, Ihsanuddin | Editors: Yohanes Enggar Harususilo, Bayu Galih, Krisiandi, Sandro Gatra)
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