JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology Nadiem Makarim announced that the coast is clear for Indonesia’s schools to hold limited face to face learning.
The Gojek unicorn founder made the assertion, more than a year after the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia in March 2020 caused schools to close and forced classes to go online.
“Public places like malls, cinemas and offices are already open,” Nadiem said during a hearing with the House of Representatives’ Commission X on Education, Youth Affairs, Sports, Tourism, Art and Culture on Monday, May 31.
“So I believe it is time for [Indonesia’s] schools to hold limited face-to-face classes.” Nadiem explained that limited face-to face classes are already permitted since the beginning of the year.
Also read: Indonesia Allows Limited Face-to-Face Classes For 2021-2022 Academic Year
“30 percent of schools across Indonesia already practiced face-to-face learning since January 2021, even before mass vaccinations started to be held nationwide. We have allowed schools to hold these classes if they feel they are ready,” he said.
Nadiem pointed out that at least 28 percent of Indonesia’s 5.6 million teachers or other faculty have already received Covid-19 vaccinations.
“The fact that we managed to vaccinate 28 percent of academics within a relatively short time is a feat, considering the global shortages of Covid-19 vaccines,” he asserted.
However, Nadiem maintained that he would leave the return of face-to-face classes to the students’ parents.
“The return of schoolchildren to face-to-face learning still requires the parents’ consent. Only they can determine whether their children go back to school [for face-to-face classes] or carry on with long-distance learning,” he asserted.
“The parents have the right to the latter if they have concerns, among they if are still unsure [about safety] or if they feel their children cannot maintain health protocols.”
Also read: Indonesia Still Reviews Face-to-Face Learning
While Nadiem admitted that parental concerns is a factor in keeping schools from opening for face-to-face classes, it is not the primary reason.
“Many face-to-face classes are still hampered by the lack of a permit from provincial administrations or local Covid-19 branches to open schools,” he said.
“I urge Commission X to persuade provincial administrations nationwide to reopen schools for face-to-face learning. This effort has to start now, as the [school reopening process] such as training, preparation and other stages take time.”
Nadiem hopes that limited face-to-face classes can be developed further in the near future.
"Face-to-face learning is feasible even during a pandemic. Their numbers should grow in the near future, unless there is [a cluster] breaking out in their immediate area or in the school itself,” he said.
(Writer: Nicholas Ryan Aditya | Editors: Krisiandi, Dani Prabowo)
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