One of the ways in which communities support schools is through their participation in classroom activities. Here they either help teachers or make a direct contribution by discussing their area of interest and expertise with students. The monitoring found parents and community members are now helping in 61% of primary schools and in 46% of junior secondary schools.
The idea that schools can be assisted to provide better quality education by in-kind contributions from the community seems to be gathering strength. Not only are parents assisting in classrooms and making financial contributions, they are also very active in maintaining and improving facilities in the majority of schools. So too are local companies and industries.
A surprising and very welcome 70% of schools are reporting that they have received financial or in-kind support of this kind. This support is usually in the form of direct funding, scholarships or materials and equipment for education.
Management and Leadership by Local Governments
All of these achievements would not be possible without the active encouragement and support of local governments. MBE has been supporting districts in planning, in making the most effective use of the teaching workforce, their facilities and buildings and with more equitable and efficient funding strategies.
So, how are things progressing at district level? Methods by which districts are being encouraged to make efficiency gains are by merging small schools, creating multi-grade schools and by deploying teachers to more closely reflect regional demographics. Targets for mergers, the creation of multi-grade schools and redeployment of teachers have all been achieved.
Districts are also supported to implement funding strategies that are more closely related to student numbers and local needs and in ways that are more equitable and transparent. So far three districts, Kebumen, Pacitan and Batu have implemented such an approach to funding. In monitoring these management processes and the broader principles of district planning the need for further work to strengthen planning processes and documentation was identified and this is being followed up immediately.
One interesting development has been in Pacitan where the creation of multi-grade schools is recognised as offering many educational quality benefits as well as the more obvious economic ones. Pacitan initiated and implemented a program of teacher and principal professional development both within the sub-districts supported by MBE and in other sub-districts as well to support the full implementation of multigrade teaching.
This development illustrates how quickly a district can establish a national reputation for leadership in a particular educational innovation. Leadership is being demonstrated at district level in other ways. Some districts have clearly demonstrated their strong commitment to improving educational quality through their funding decisions.
Two districts, Probolinggo and Madiun, actually increased education spending even though the APBD had declined. Kebumen increased funding to education by almost 40% even though the APBD had increased by only 14%.
Spreading Innovation to Other Schools
Finally, the good news from the monitoring does not stop with the MBE supported schools and districts in Phase 1 and 2. It extends well beyond these schools into the new MBE Phase 3 schools, elsewhere in Java, and beyond. And the numbers of educators, schools and districts involved is very impressive indeed.
From their own resources and with some MBE technical support, the Phase 1 and 2 districts have disseminated improved management and teaching concepts to 2,813 non-MBE schools and 23,115 participants in their districts. In addition, they have helped at least 40 other districts in Indonesia. Much of this dissemination is done though formal training but other strategies are used with great success, in particular, study visits.
A study visit to Probolinggo by officials from Aceh is likely to lead to implementation of changes there based on the outcomes of that visit. The results are very gratifying to MBE. They represent a changing culture in schools and in schools management that is responding enthusiastically and responsibly to the opportunities presented by local management in the new democratic environment in Indonesia.
Where to next?