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To stop so many students dropping out of high school, Indonesia will let kids study online instead

online-classroom

While there are a lot of concerns about Indonesia’s IT teaching in schools, today there’s some good news about the Indonesian government embracing technology in the public education system. Starting from the next school year in July, five high schools in the country will implement a full online learning program.

The objective of this new program aims to stop teenagers from dropping out of Indonesia’s upper high school system. Every year over five million middle and high school graduates do not continue their education. The new program means that some students can get their high school degree without ever setting foot on campus.

Indonesian schools face many issues in getting students to continue their education, due to things like financial problems, long distances between school and home, or because of a lack of parental support. The government will offer a number of incentives to students participating in the new program, such as a scholarship, pocket money, a tablet, and a laptop. The government will also put operational money into the participating schools.

(See: A dilemma over Indonesia’s curriculum that “removes” IT studies in schools)

The five public schools to implement this are SMA Negeri 12 Merangin (Jambi, East Java), SMA Negeri 2 Padalarang (Bandung, West Java), SMA Negeri 1 Kepanjen (Malang, East Java), SMA Negeri 1 Gambut (Banjar, South Kalimantan), and SMA Negeri 1 Narmada (West Nusa Tenggara).

Online learning in Indonesia

At the moment, authorities have only released details about the new program as it relates to one school, SMA Negeri 1 Kepanjen. The other four schools are expected to be implementing their own online programs in similar ways.

SMA Negeri 1 Kepanjen wil receive IDR 400 million (US$35,000) for operational costs and IDR 200 million (US$17,500) to build infrastructure to support online learning, such as a place where the program’s students could come and learn. That school is allocating scholarships and facilities to 200 students, but it’s open to receive 800 more students who are willing to pay for the program.

The SMA Negeri 1 Kepanjen school has prepared 51 tutors for the new program. The school headmaster says that while most of the learning process takes place online, there is still the likelihood that students need to meet tutors from time to time. As with normal, classroom-bound students, there will be regular exams each semester for the online students – and they’ll even have to sit the nationals. The online graduates will receive certification equivalent to regular graduating students.

It’ll be for the schools to make sure the students really spend time studying in this new system. The headmaster says that they will record and monitor all online learning activities. Students who are slacking will be kicked out of the program and substituted with somebody else.

Online learning programs in the schooling system in Indonesia are mostly run by universities. It is done by Terbuka University and Bina Nusantara University. There’s also a surge of Indonesian startups trying to get people to try elearning, such as HarukaEdu, Zenius, and Sibejoo.

(See: Zenius aims to reach Indonesia’s 60 million schoolkids with its elearning platform)

(Sources: Tempo and Merdeka (in Indonesian) | Photo from Flickr user dcJohn)

Editing by Steven Millward

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