Education has always been considered as one of the primary qualifications for one’s self to have a promising future, and it is certainly understandable. Even though education may not be the only way to develop one’s skills, it is undeniable that education can provide the essential teachings and develop the students’ problem solving skills. Not to mention the other aspects of education in enhancing the students’ skills in their preferred fields through extracurricular activities as well as the manner and disciplinary lessons. Therefore, education has always been considered as a fundamental aspect in all nations; education has become a sector which does not only reflect the general quality of the human resources, but also the nation’s.
Indonesia ranked 69th in a ranking published by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) during 2015, in which the ranking is based on the subjects of math and science. The total amount of countries ranked were 74; meaning, Indonesia almost ranked last. It is agreeable that the subjects of math and science may not always be the sole parameters to determine a nation’s quality of education, but when Indonesia is lacking in those fields, that is an issue of its own which could have been ‘fixed’.
In an attempt to heighten the learning progress and security of the future generation, Indonesia’s newly appointed Minister of Education and Culture, Muhajir Effendy, voiced out his idea regarding an extension of school hours for elementary and high school, popularly referred as Full Day School. As its name suggests, Full Day School is a system in which students would be required to stay inside the school building for almost the entire day; from 07:00 A.M. to 17:00 P.M., which is about 10 hours.
The minister said that the Full Day School enforces a concept in which students are to study formally during half of the allocated duration, and then spend the other portion by engaging in extracurricular activities. The reason for the possible implementation of this concept is in order to build a positive character for children, as Mr. Effendy said, the children will stay at school until the evening when their parents can pick them up. This lessens the possibility of the students ‘spending time inappropriately’ and harming their socialization as well as attitudes.
Interactions with family members, especially parents, is one of the main concerns for Full Day School. Mr. Effendy would like the parents to monitor their children as an attempt to prevent any misleading interactions after school, and the students will still be given a break during the weekends to spend some time with their families. Aside from the possible detrimental activities after school, Mr. Effendy would like to prevent the students from being home alone while their parents are at work. According to him, the productivity and self-development of the students would be able to be increased as students can do their homework at school after their formal study sessions while waiting for their parents.
As expected, the Full Day School system has generated mixed opinions; with the nation’s rigid educational system and emphasis on the test results, the school is often an environment teeming with demands and pressures to perform well academically, and if the students have to stay inside such environment for 10 hours, a number of parents are worried that this may stress the students too much. Furthermore, with several schools in Indonesia still having inadequate facilities, there is the fear that the school might not be able to accommodate the students’ needs. This is definitely understandable, as in order for one to be able to stay in a certain environment for a long time, one needs to be comfortable; if the school does not even have a courtyard or sports facilities, Full Day School may become a living nightmare for the students.
Worries regarding the teachers’ wage have also arose; the teachers in Indonesia tend to receive lower salary compared to those of other nations, and if there are no increase in their salaries despite their working longer hour, then there is certainly a level of ‘over pressuring’ and even ‘violation of rights’ as these teachers also have their family to support. On a more positive note, the implementation of the Full Day School system may be able to achieve the ‘secured circle of socialization’ as well as ‘possible productivity and potential development’ that Mr. Effendy has mentioned, while granting the local teachers the convenience of acquiring a certification easier (teachers need to teach 24 hours each week to be considered as certified). Nonetheless, it does not change the fact that there are even petitions created to reject the idea of Full Day School
Mr. Effendy added that he would be holding socializations with the schools across the nation and consider the feedbacks received from the society. After all, this system is implemented for the betterment of the nation and it needs the nation’s support to succeed and achieve the intended goals. With possible future adjustments, the exact implementation date for the Full Day School concept is still unclear, but due to the reason that education and the society’s participation are virtually inseparable, Mr. Effendy may have to really pay attention to how the society thinks of this newly discussed policy.