Through several chances of lunch and linner (lunch-dinner, sneaking out of office to dine at 4 or 5 pm with heads ready to blow due to excessive exposure of codes) together with my co-workers, I got to know one new thing. A senior co-worker talked to the rest of us so very furiously about this matter. He said it has been his aspiration lately. Something that occupies his thought all day and haunts him at night. You may be expecting a “just kidding”, but no, I’m not gonna provide that. I really think it could be true.
What is it? Indonesia Mengajar (IM) or, in English, The Indonesia Teaching. You might have heard it as it is getting popular now. I myself actually had heard it before the aforementioned co-worker mentioned this. Here is the idea: You’re a fresh graduate from bachelor degree program, you will be sent to some kind of uncivilized area in Indonesia far far away from luxury and convenience, and you’ve got to teach elementary school kids from disadvantaged school there for 1 year. And when you get back home, opportunities to work in big companies, whether national or multinational, will be open wide. At least that’s my understanding about the program, referring to its brief explanation. Is it just me or this program sounds so Survivor-ish, huh?
Indonesia Mengajar is a movement of young leaders coming from university graduates, who commit on teaching for 1 (one) year in disadvantaged schools before they enter professional work. These Pengajar-Muda are bringing inspiration, positive learning experience and excellence to the children they serve.
This program is initiated and established by Anies Baswedan, the President of Paramadina University, Jakarta. He is now a prominent political analyst in Indonesia and often referred to as one of Indonesia’s youngest university presidents. He has won several awards from international magazines. Some of the bests are, The US magazine Foreign Policy named him as one of the Top 100 public intellectuals in the world and The Japan Magazine Foresight included him along with Hugo Cavez (Venezuela) and Vladimir Putin (Russia) in a list of 20 persons to be watched in the next 20 years. In June 2009, Baswedan was elected to serve as moderator of the first presidential debate ever conducted in Indonesia; a historic event, broadcasted live by all TV network and no less than 100 million people watched the debate. (Source: Wikipedia). No doubt, he is one very bright individual from Indonesia.
And no doubt, this is a super cool program. What we have to note here is that this program brings many benefits to all of the stakeholders. First, we see it from the young teachers’ point of view. The young teachers will gain valuable experiences and learn much things like leadership, communication, and teaching theories. That’s the immaterial ones. For the material ones, IM offers delicious treat for them. Firstly, a competitive salary. It is very likely to be above IDR 5.000.000. ”Your salary as a young teacher is the same as a fresh graduate who works in Unilever. That’s the clue,” Baswedan said. Secondly, certificates from trainings they attend during the program, remuneration and insurance, high tech PDA-like gadget (I guess it comes in the form of iPad? Ah, that’s for the 2010 program I guess. The 2011 program fellows will get PlayBook). And thirdly, chances to enter big companies and to get scholarship programs locally or internationally.
From the children’s point of view, it’s quite clear. They can have better learning experiences being taught by these brilliant young teachers. Being taught by young teachers means a vivid, lively class. Young teachers are generally more energetic and have smart ideas to turn a boring lesson into an exciting one. I myself have experienced this in high school where we had several teachers around their mid 20’s and they were so much fun! We could have better communication and understanding with them compared to with elder teachers.
Outcomes expected seen from the school’s point of view are increasement in Final Test marks, better graduation percentage, and increasement in students’ presence number. Let’s hope it won’t be all that they pursue because relying education fully on grade is really a bad idea.
From the sponsor companies point of view, better reputation of course. Besides, they can recruit these young talents after they finish their “servitude”. Hence, brilliant talents with proven high Adversity Quotient are ready to be the companies’ invaluable resources.
Hopefully it can set out an example of how education in Indonesia should be. Starting from qualified teachers, facilitating them with proper rewards, and providing trainings for them could be a good start to boost education’s quality. It’s undeniable that teachers are human being who need some wealth to continue living, however pure their heart, however they want to serve for humanity. Such scheme where teachers are hoped to voluntarily teach those poor students far away from civilization without compensation is not going to succeed because this world is not ruled by sincerity. It’s just not how this world works.