Preprimary & Primary Education
Preschool education is aimed at stimulating the physical and mental growth of pupils outside the family environment before entering primary school or out-of-school educational programs. Among the types of pre-school education available are kindergartens, playgroups and child care centers. Kindergartens are part of the school-based education system and, as such, are under the Ministry of Education and Cultural Development (Government Regulation No. 27 of 1990). Play groups and childcare centers are part of the out-of-school system and the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Preprimary education is not considered to be neither a prerequisite nor a requirement for entry into primary school. Preschool is provided for children from four to six years of age, while play groups and child care centers are attended by children under three years of age. Apart from these schools, there are also special Islamic preschools which have the same status as kindergartens. These schools, known as Bustanual Atfal and Raudlatul Atfal, are organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Subject matter taught at the kindergarten level includes: Pancasila (state ideology), moral education and religion, discipline, language skills, intellectual stimulation, creativity, emotional harmony, social skills, manual skills and physical ability, and health.
Kindergartens have increased in terms of total numbers of school buildings, students, and teachers, and have experienced a dramatic reduction in the student to teacher ratio as well. In 1969, for example, there were 6,072 schools, 343,466 students, 10,423 teachers, and a student-teacher ratio of approximately 32:1. By the 1995-1996 school year, the numbers had increased to 40,715 schools, 1.6 million students, 98,094 teachers, and a student-teacher ratio of less than 17:1. These figures demonstrate an increasing community support of this preparatory educational level for students.
Six years of compulsory education for primary school-age children (7-12 years) was instituted in 1984. Then, in 1990, by order of Government Regulation No. 28/1990, compulsory education was expanded to a total of nine years, adding three years of junior secondary education thereby covering children 7-15 years of age. The number of primary schools and children attending them increased from 63,056 schools and 12.8 million pupils in 1969 to 149,954 schools and 3.6 million pupils by 1995.
The goal of basic education, as expressed by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, is to develop the lives of children as individual members and good citizens of society. The core content of basic education curriculum consists of Pancasila (state ideology), religion, civic education, Indonesian language, reading and writing, mathematics, introduction to sciences and technology, geography, national and world history, handicraft and art, physical and health education, drawing, English language, and local content.
For the calendar year 1995, figures indicate nearly one hundred percent enrollment of 7 to 12 year old students in government-funded primary schools. For the same calendar year, 62 percent of 13 to 15 year old children (junior secondary level) were enrolled in government-funded schools. This represents a decline from primary level enrollment which parallels a decline in government subsidy for students over 12 years of age.
In addition to the regular school system, there are religious schools, known as madrasas, equivalent to primary and junior secondary schools. The distinction is that the school curriculum, administered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, is founded upon the Koran and commentaries of the Koran, sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, and the Arabic language. This is where Muslim children learn the precepts and traditions of the Islamic faith to carry back to their homes and villages. Such instruction sustains the living presence of Islam among the world's largest Muslim population, Indonesia having more Muslims than all the Arab nations combined. In the 1994-1995 school year, there were 24,232 Islamic primary schools, with 3.5 million students and 138,931 teachers.
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