Better Indonesian Students through Autonomous and Accountable Schools

September 14, 2011

  • Indonesia needs to improve students’ performance to support the country’s growth
  • The World Bank is working together with Indonesia to improve implementation of school-based mangement
  • Indonesia’s investment in school-based management is starting to pay off, with a gradual increase in test scores over time

Jakarta, September 14, 2011 - As a new middle income country, Indonesia is now under pressure to produce better students, able to compete internationally. In recent years there have been improvements in the performance of Indonesian students but there is still a long way to go. If more schools implement school-based management students’ results will hopefully improve further.

Implementation of school-based management in Indonesia
School-based management was developed in Indonesia starting before 1998, but when the Asian economic crisis hit Indonesia, funds dried up and principals only had their school buildings and their teachers, whose salaries were paid by the Government. The Education Law of 2002 then laid out the ground rules for school based management, and development partners started to support this approach through a number of projects. With support from development partners, the Ministry of National Education now wants to ensure that all schools are equipped to manage themselves in this way.

The World Bank has been supporting the Government’s School Operational Grants program since 2008. It also provides analytical work and technical assistance for school-based management through the Dutch Education Support Program and the Basic Education Capacity Trust Fund, supported by the Dutch Government and the European Commission.

Indonesia’s approach to school-based management asks schools to manage themselves in a transparent way, with strong community participation, and promoting active, effective and joyful learning. A number of initiatives have been taken by schools under this approach, including publicly displaying the school’s financial reports, involving community and parents in teaching activities, and using innovative ways to make learning more interactive and fun for students.

In the last ten years, Indonesia’s schools have gained responsibility for making their own plans and budgets, and managing operational grants from the Government. As a result, schools are now more autonomous and there has been an effort to increase accountability, which is having an impact on student results, as shown by the results ofthe international Programme for International Student Assessment – an internationally standardized assessment administered to 15-year-olds in schools developed by the OECD.

What is needed to strengthen school based management in Indonesia
During a series of workshops in August chaired by Fasli Jalal, Deputy Minister of National Education, he emphasized that “It is time to consolidate and make sure that school-based management in Indonesia is sustainable, lessons are learned and a road map developed.” He hoped that with the support of development partners such as the World Bank, Indonesian schools will be better able to deliver students who can measure up internationally in the future.

Recommendations by workshop participants to improve school-based management include:

  • Support school-based management Secretariat within the Ministry of National Education to: develop national guidelines on basic principles and indicators; map good practices; coordinate implementation in districts.
  • Develop capacity of government education offices to: meet accountability for learning outcomes; establish participatory process to ensure quality learning outcomes
  • Increase role of parents and community by: training school committee members; providing them with a clear mandate and encouraging them to be actively involved in school development