[lg policy] Indonesia:

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 11 16:03:01 UTC 2009

Teachers lack English language skills
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Wed, 06/10/2009 1:01 PM

Teachers in Jakarta may not be ready to take up the challenge of
teaching subjects in English, as stipulated by a current government
policy that requires every province to have at least one
international-standard school. "Some teachers still struggle to teach
the English language in English, let alone teach other subjects using
the language," Itje Chodidjah, the British Council's educational
advisor said on the sidelines of a symposium on bilingual education,
which was attended by representatives of 10 countries.  In 2006, the
government introduced the English Bilingual Education (EBE) policy and
designated 112 schools to start pilot programs in English.

"The need to master English is becoming more pressing," Suryanto, the
director general of primary and secondary education said at the event,
adding that fluency in English would open many doors.  However, the
English language capability of teachers, even in the capital city, may
not be strong enough to implement the policy. "In Jakarta, some
schools recruit teachers for the EBE program because they are good at
teaching and speak decent English, but they have not necessarily
mastered the language," Itje said, adding that in some schools the
case was the opposite: Teachers were fluent in English, but lacked the
required teaching skills.

It usually takes seven months of training to help teachers master
their subjects in English, she said. "It's a good thing that Jakarta
has its own training center for English teachers," Itje said.  "Thus,
its educational system is slightly better than those in other
provinces."  These centers train about 100 teachers a year, she
explained.  However, even at that rate, the centers would struggle to
achieve the ambitious plans put forward by schools aspiring to achieve
international standards.

Christian Duncumb, director of English and Education Reform at the
British Council, said the council had worked together with the city
administration and the National Education Ministry to produce a
grading system framework for English teachers. According to him, the
system's comprehensive program would enable the government to set
standards that would improve the quality of English teachers.  "It
*the current system* lacks efficiency," he said, "progress will not
develop as fast as it could if the region continues to use the current
system."  In a workshop on English teaching organized by University of
Indonesia's International Language Institute on Monday, many teachers
acknowledged the challenge. (dis/nia)

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