Enhancing Inclusive Education in Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia
Pradytia P. Pertiwi and Gabriella Lissa
Indonesia achievements towards Inclusive Education
Indonesia has put considerable effort into achieving the Millennium Development Goals including Goal 2 “Achieve universal primary education” and has recognized that education is a fundamental right for all children, including children with disabilities. On March 31. 2007 Indonesia signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 24 states that persons with disabilities should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, regardless of age, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity. Nevertheless 95% of children with disabilities are not accessing school.
Over the past 10 years, the Government of Indonesia has issued National and Provincial regulations to promote equal rights for children with disabilities including access to education. To date, there are at least 130 mainstream schools in Yogyakarta Province, from kindergarten to secondary education, who welcome children with disabilities. The Education Department supports registered inclusive schools by providing scholarships for children with disabilities, subsidised school fees, support teachers and training for regular teachers on special education topics.
Increasing the quality of education
Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), works in Indonesia since 2006 and conducted Disaster Risk Reduction education to children with disabilities. This included working in 113 inclusive schools in Yogyakarta and all 60 special schools and trainings for hundreds of children with disabilities not yet in school.
ASB, in partnership with Yogyakarta Provincial Education Department, has initiated a project co-financed by the European Union1, to establish a framework for the implementation of inclusive education. In line with Ministry of Education decree No. 70, 2009 on inclusive education, the Education Department of Yogyakarta Province and ASB are also collaborating with the five district Education Departments in Yogyakarta province. These are: Bantul, Sleman, Yogyakarta City, Gunung Kidul and Kulon Progo.
The project includes producing technical guidelines on establishing criteria for what is an inclusive school, strategy for teacher training, management and administration of inclusive schools, and monitoring the implementation of inclusive education. In order to produce achievable, workable and locally-specific guidelines and to support the later implementation of these guidelines, an Inclusive Education steering committee, composed of provincial and district education authority representatives has been established.
A school based survey has also been conducted to support the needs analysis and the development of the guidelines. A sample-survey of 57 schools was conducted combining direct observation in schools, interviews with school administrators, structured discussions with mainstream teachers, school committees and special school principals. The survey showed that major challenges faced by schools are linked to low awareness and understandings of inclusive education, knowledge and resource constraints in making adjustments and flexibility with the curriculum, local regulatory and financial constraints, relations with special schools and support teachers from these schools. A further issue related to poor medical and academic assessments, which have resulted in inaccurate identification of children with disabilities and class repetitions. Some schools also face attitudinal barriers from the wider community regarding the presence of children with disabilities in mainstream schools.
Best practices in inclusive schools
From survey, good practices could also be observed. Some schools have started to overcome a range of issues with simple and practical solutions. For example, a teacher in the primary school of Tegalrejo Baru uses peer-tutoring techniques to assist a child with hearing impairment and to overcome communication barriers. The teacher combines this strategy with adapted seating arrangements (the child with hearing impairment sits in the front row) and uses demonstrative teaching techniques as much as possible. The teacher also regularly gives reading assignments to the child to enrich her vocabulary. As part of the whole adaptation process, the teacher prepares specific evaluation instruments and marking systems for this student based on her ability.
“It is important to keep the student’s (with hearing impairment) confidence by giving proper marks to her. I explained to all students not to be jealous of her because everyone’s capacities and conditions are different”
Teacher, SD Tegalrejo Baru
To overcome financial constraints the private school Sanggar Anak Alam (SALAM), in Bantul, applies school fee subsidies based on the families’ income. Participation of student’s parents plays a significant role in this process, as SALAM does not receive any funds from either the provincial or district education departments, as it is registered as a non-formal educational institution.
SALAM uses an adaptable curriculum and individual education plans for children based on their abilities. Teachers creatively provide simple and affordable materials. For a student with Down-syndrome who started recognizing letters, the teacher made simple word cards using the names of classmates.
“I made these cards with names of his classmates because Yani has a good relationship and good emotional attachment with them. This might help Yani to recognize and remember words and letters”
A teacher in SALAM
Attitudinal support plays a crucial role to increase motivation for school. “Yes I like going to school. All my friends are praying for my feet to recover so I could walk again” says Muhammad a young student in Kretek 2 primary school. Eko a student in Bulurejo 1 primary school says he likes school too “because my teacher teaches me thoroughly and patiently, she doesn’t get angry”.
These good practices provide valuable information on what are potentially replicable and not necessarily costly solutions. As such they help to guide the development of the guidelines and help ensure they are relevant and meet the existing needs and local constraints of all. Overall, the project aims at improving the quality of education and is expected to benefit all children. The guidelines will be completed by the end of 2010 and will be disseminated through all districts in Yogyakarta Province. Hopefully, they support the long term implementation of inclusive education and inspire other regions who wish to promote Inclusive Education. Further it is hoped that this will contribute to and support Indonesia’s national motto ‘Bhineka Tunggal Ika’ (‘Unity in Diversity’).
Note: Names of respondents have been changed.
Writers can be contacted at:
Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland e.V
Jalan Kaliurang Km. 10
1 ”Education for Children with Disabilities: A Local Authority Framework for Inclusion” this project is co-funded by ASB and the European Union by Non-State Actors and Local Authority programme. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.