In Indonesia, basic education has traditionally focused on student memorization of facts, and poor management of teachers at the district level has led to an uneven supply of appropriately trained educators. As a result, Indonesian primary and junior secondary schools inconsistently prepare students for life in the 21st century.
RTI is helping answer this need as the lead implementing partner of a five-year project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) dubbed PRIORITAS—Prioritizing Reform, Innovation and Opportunities for Reaching Indonesia’s Teachers, Administrators, and Students.
Uniting Stakeholders to Improve Education for All
Aimed at holistically bettering the quality of education in Indonesia, PRIORITAS seeks to improve not only training for teachers and school personnel, but also the management of school resources and the overall educational experience of students, particularly in terms of reading, math, and science.
PRIORITAS is a close partnership with Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education. The project strives to better coordinate and align components of Indonesia’s educational system, shoring up the relationships between school management and district governance as well as between teacher training institutes and the schools for which they provide teachers.
The program is working to build districts’ capacity to improve in-service teacher training as well as supporting teacher training institutes to improve pre-service training so learning is more contextual, meaningful, and effective for students.
Positive Change Has a Ripple Effect on Teachers and Students
Since the launch of PRIORITAS, widespread changes in both teaching and school management have occurred, with the impacts rippling throughout the system. As school resourcing and training improve, teachers improve. As teachers up their level of performance, student performance and learning dramatically increases.
In PRIORITAS partner schools, the number of teachers using good teaching practices went from 24 percent in 2012 (before PRIORITAS) to 60 percent in 2014. Children demonstrating positive learning behaviors increased from 17 percent to 81 percent over the same time period, with 50 percent more students able to read and understand at their grade level in 2014 than were able to do so in 2012.
Perhaps the most significant achievement has been the adoption of PRIORITAS practices. Local governments have used their own funds—totaling more than US$2.6 million—to replicate PRIORITAS programs, extending the program’s reach well beyond the 1,400 partner schools.
These local governments have provided training to over 75,000 additional educators from 17,231 non-partner schools since the start of the project. The additional training is estimated to have benefitted more than 5 million additional students.