Working in the world’s fourth most populous country, EDC’s International Development Division (IDD) is collaborating with the Indonesian government to decentralize education and assist local leaders as they assume management and operation of their schools.
The five-year, multimillion dollar project, Decentralized Basic Education Program Objective 2 (DBE 2), is funded by USAID and aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning in Indonesia’s public and private sector primary schools. The initiative, which works in more than 100 districts in six provinces, builds upon Indonesia’s efforts to put control of essential services in the hands of provincial and district authorities.
“When the government began decentralization in 2001, many local governments were not fully prepared to manage schools and other formerly centralized services,” says EDC’s Michael Calvano, chief of party for the DBE 2 project. “One of our primary thrusts is to work with both the provincial and district governments and the ministries in Jakarta to better decentralize education in Indonesia.”
The focus of DBE 2 is in-service teacher training—working with practicing teachers in groups of schools. “We will hire what we are calling Master Teacher Trainers (MTTs) to act as the agents of change in the schools,” says Calvano. “Creative and motivated teachers will be recruited and trained to serve in this capacity. Once the MTTs have mastered the active, student-centered teaching/learning methodologies, they will assist other teachers in the schools to master and implement them as well.”
Such professional development activities, said Calvano, can strengthen the capacity of educators and administrators to initiate, facilitate, and promote school improvement at the local level. The IDD project will work in Central, West, and East Java; South Sulawesi; North Sumatra; Banten; and Aceh provinces. In each district, two clusters of six to ten schools serve as hubs for project tasks and activities. These clusters offer school administrators, teachers, and community participants an opportunity to become engage in activities that strengthen their professional identity through active and participatory learning.
The MTTs manage trainings at the cluster level and facilitate activities at the district and school levels. They provide the leadership and support necessary to make school clusters function effectively and help schools adopt improved management and instructional practices. Approximately 200 MTTs serve as the operational connection between improved teacher performance and improved school/student performance results.
The team launched the project this fall by selecting the schools participating in the program. The MTTs will receive training from October until the end of the year and will begin their activities with other teachers in early 2006. DBE 2 runs until 2010.
Numerous partners are working with EDC. The teacher training is supported by modules created at partner universities in each of the six provinces, with the assistance of EDC, AED, Research Triangle Institute, Florida State University, University of Massachusetts, University of Pittsburgh, USAID/Indonesia, Indonesia’s Ministries of National Education and Religious Affairs, as well as other public and private sector partners. The partner universities serve as the central hub from which teacher training materials are developed, disseminated at the provincial level, and shared among provinces. The DBE 2 also works with Indonesia’s Open University (UT) to ensure that they have the capacity to respond to diverse professional training needs in the increasingly decentralized educational environment.
Centrally located Cluster Resource Centers (CRC) support and facilitate activities in each district. The CRCs house trainings and offer a place where project participants can gather to discuss training content, classroom applications and innovations. Teachers and other training participants may use CRCs to access reference texts, build capacity via training videos, collaborate with colleagues and MTTs online, develop classroom materials, and access the online digital library. CRC are also the distribution and lending hub for library books and other learning materials developed as part of project activities. Additionally, a series of information and community technology (ICT) applications for teacher training, student instruction, and community involvement are housed in the CRCs.
Originally published on September 1, 2005