Previously, primary school teachers were graduates of schools for primary school teachers (SPG), a three-year program following junior secondary education (at the same level as the senior secondary school). However, in order to improve the quality of primary school, the government increased the educational requirements of primary school teachers to a two-year diploma course (D II program) following senior secondary education. At the same time, the government launched a national in-service training program for primary school teachers throughout Indonesia using the Open University. Its objective is to train existing teachers to the equivalent level of the Diploma II. The new requirement for junior secondary school teachers is to have at least D II education. The teachers of senior secondary schools are mostly recruited from D II and D III teacher training, and a master's degree, also referred to as Level I.
The quality of education at the various school levels is closely related to the capacity of the Teacher Training Institute to produce quality teachers. The institute graduates an average of 7,500 primary school teachers at the Diploma II level per year. This is a relatively small number when compared to the national demand for teachers (296,653 primary school teachers in 1994-1995). There are four contributing factors to the teacher shortage:
- the number of teachers retiring, dying, or leaving for non-teaching jobs each year, which reached 23,453 persons or 2 percent in 1994-1995;
- the imbalance in the geographic distribution of teachers;
- the current surplus and shortage of teachers depending on the subject matter (e.g., surplus teachers are in subjects like Pancasila education, Bahasa Indonesia, social science, handicraft and arts, sports and health, national history, sociology, geography, and foreign languages; a shortage of teachers is found to be in mathematics, science, English, and local content); and
- the final challenge to the Teacher Training Institute is in the high number of current teachers not meeting the published teacher standards.
For example, in the 1994-1995 school year, there were 1.1 million primary school teachers, 392,588 junior secondary school teachers, and 316,479 senior secondary school teachers. Of the total number of primary school teachers, 5.3 percent were deemed qualified, 87.5 percent semiqualified, and 7.2 percent underqualified. Of the total number of junior secondary school teachers 38.5 percent were judged to be qualified, 50.3 percent semi-qualified, and 11.2 percent underqualified. Of the total number of senior secondary school teachers 45.7 percent placed in the qualified category, 39.2 percent semiqualified, and 15.1 percent underqualified.
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