Jakarta-wapresri.go.id. Despite the large portion of the state budget allocated for education, Vice President Jusuf Kalla thought education quality in the country has not significantly improved.

“We have to improve the quality of teachers and students and not to compromise with this. To measure how good the quality is, we need an exam (for students) and competency test (for teachers),” said the Vice President when receiving central board members of the Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) at his office on Jalan Merdeka Utara, Jakarta on Friday (April, 29).

He added that government is responsible for education for its people.  He then underscored three elements that should be prioritized in a bid to achieve quality education, namely improvement of education process quality including improvement of teaching and learning facilities, curriculum improvement, and improvement of teacher quality including improvement of teaching methods.

In various educational forums, he said, Vice President often conveyed the necessity of improving the quality of teachers to keep abreast of the times, as science keeps developing.

“The most rapidly growing science is information technology, doubling every 18 months, while medical knowledge is doubling every three years. That is why various trainings are of importance to upgrade quality,” he said.

To make Indonesia able to compete against other countries, the Vice President said, teacher quality should be improved.

“Methods in teacher development should be continuously improved.  Competency test for teachers should be also developed every 10 years,” he said, adding that the competency test is not only for the sake of increasing teachers’ income, but it is more to boost teacher quality.

Responding the lack of the number of teachers, Mr. Kalla urged investigation particularly on local governments that made teachers become functional personnel in the institutions.

The Vice President further conveyed the government is ready to raise the status of honorary teachers so long as their quality is guaranteed. However, he continued, based on data from the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, many of them do not meet the quality requirement.

“Many failed as they do not meet the established quality,” he said.

In response to the Vice President’s comments and directives, PGRI acting chairwoman Unifah Rosyidi, who temporarily replaces the position of PGRI chairman Sulistyo who passed away last March, said she would forward the messages to PGRI branches in the regions.

“As a commitment to improve teacher quality, PGRI now has Competence Development Clinic in its website which is aimed at assisting honorary teachers to improve their competence,” he explained

PGRI, she added, also has consented not to compromise with the teacher quality.

Minister of Education and Culture Anies Baswedan who accompanied Vice President in the meeting said that his ministry has made a rule for calculating the salaries of honorary teachers based on their number of teaching hours.

“For the shortage of teachers in regions, this is a challenge we are facing now when it comes to the national ratio as the ratio of teacher distribution is unequal. We need to examine the needs of the regions one by one,” he said.

Anies continued that his ministry is going to simplify some of its regulations, especially regarding teacher certification as he thought it is too complicated. For teacher certification, he said, teachers who do not hold S1 or D4 certificate are encouraged to join acceleration program and long distance learning program to help improve their teaching quality.