3. Laws, Plans, Policies and Programmes
6. Teachers and Support Personnel
Regulation No. 70/2009 on Inclusive Education defines inclusive education as a system that provides the opportunity for all students with impairments and those who are gifted and/or have special talents to participate in education together with their peers (Art. 1).
The 2019–24 Master Plan on National Development of Inclusive Education deems inclusive education as ‘an approach to meet the educational and learning needs of all children, focused specifically on those who are vulnerable, marginalized and neglected, including children with special needs’, endorsing the definition of the 1994 Salamanca Conference on Special Needs Education and the 2000 World Education Forum in Dakar. In its Chapter 2, the Plan emphasized the departure from the concept of special education, highlighting the analogies between the concept of inclusive education and the principles of education for all and of school improvement. The Master Plan further clarifies that inclusive education encompasses the accommodation in school of all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, socio-emotional, linguistic or other conditions, including ‘children with disabilities, gifted children, street children, children in remote areas, children from ethnic and linguistic minority groups who are disadvantaged and marginalized from the community.’
Special education needs
Regulation No. 70/2009 on Inclusive Education lists impairments of students who can benefit from inclusive education, namely those who are blind, deaf, speech impaired, mentally disabled, with learning difficulties, affected by autism, with motorial disabilities, or affected by drug abuse and other addictions, among others (Art. 3).
As set by Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System, special education is among the types of education provided, which also include general, vocational, academic, professional and religious (Art. 15). Special education is provided to citizens who have physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and/or social disabilities, including citizens in remote or underdeveloped areas and remote indigenous peoples (Art. 32). Learners entitled to special education are:
- Learners who have difficulties because of physical, emotional, mental or social impairments
- Learners with proven intelligence and especially gifted
- Learners residing in remote, less developed or isolated areas
- Learners who are victims of natural disasters
- Learners who suffer from social impairments and/or are economically disadvantaged.
Education for children with special needs is provided according to a twin-track model, according to which children may attend regular schools or may be educated in special education units or special schools. The country has been shifting towards inclusive education, decreasing the number of students in special schools and expanding access of persons with disabilities to education from preschool to higher education.
With the introduction of the 2019–24 Master Plan on National Development of Inclusive Education, an inclusive education programme roadmap was planned, in line with the Law No. 8/2016 on Persons with Disabilities. The roadmap aims to strengthen the adoption of an inclusive education approach in primary education, to broaden its implementation in secondary schools, and to promote diversity and improve the quality of the educational services. In 2018, monitoring and evaluation revealed that 1,600 schools provided inclusive education at different levels and types of education throughout the country. Yet, as of 2019, they only accounted for about 11% of all schools.
In remote and rural areas, teaching is provided in multi-grade classes. The role of the communities is particularly emphasized. Linked to the national education standards, community-based education has been encouraged to meet local religious, social and cultural norms for the benefit of the group in formal and non-formal practice (Art. 55). The right of communities to run independent learning models, both formal and non-formal, in community-based schools has been reaffirmed in the 2015–19 education sector plan.
Under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, religious education consists of three types of schools: madrasah, pesantren and sekolah Islam. As in the public school system, madrasah students need to pass one grade to progress to the next grade, while pesantren, more spread in rural areas, do not need to follow a course progression.
Education has been one of the development priorities since Indonesia's independence as stated in the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, last amended in 2002, and as clarified in Article 31 both before and after the amendment. It mandates the state of Indonesia to ensure that every citizen has the right and duty to attend basic education (Art. 31.i) and to finance it without discrimination. In particular, the constitutional provision compels the state to allocate at least 20% of state and regional budget to education (Art. 31.iv). The provision of education in general can be accessed by all Indonesian citizens. Education is considered as part of the self-realization of every person (Art. 28c.1). Informed by the principles of equality and non-discrimination, Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System lays down the right to enhance education abilities through lifelong learning, while the 2015–19 education sector plan reiterates the intention to achieve 12-year compulsory education by providing greater opportunities to children and youth from underprivileged families, in post-conflict areas, from ethnic minorities and coming to or leaving disadvantaged areas.
Based on a research report conducted by multiple partners, including the United States Agency for International Development and UNESCO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture, a systematic and comprehensive plan for implementing inclusive education was presented in the Grand Design for National Development of Inclusive National Education in 2019–2024. As a result of the evaluation of the implementation of inclusive education and of the review of the previous Master Plan, the 2019–24 Master Plan on National Development of Inclusive Education was adopted. The Plan endorses a broad concept of inclusive education, specifying that ‘inclusive education is one of the strategies to provide access to education for all children with special needs to attend education with other children’. According to its comprehensive vision, inclusion is ‘a system that places all stakeholders in the field of education, including school principals, teachers, foundation administrators, education staff, students, parents, community and education supervisors, together developing a conducive educational environment for all children including children with disabilities specifically to be able to develop their potential optimally’.
The right to education at all levels for persons with disabilities was firstly set forth in Law No. 4/1997 on Persons with Disabilities (Art. 6), then amended with the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and replaced by Law No. 8/2016 on Persons with Disabilities. Imbued by the CRPD’s principles, including non-discrimination, equality and inclusivity, enshrined in Article 2, the latter aims to shift the approach in the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities, ensuring better coordination across levels of government and facilitating access to services. Targeting people with physical, intellectual, mental and sensory disabilities (Art. 4), it lays down their right to education (Art. 5e). In particular, it promotes their rights (a) to quality education provision at all levels in units of inclusive and special education, (b) to become educators or part of the education personnel, (c) to have equal education opportunities and (d) to have access to suitable accommodation (Section 10).
Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System declares the right of citizens with physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and/or social deficiencies to receive special education (Art. 5) according to their talents, interest and abilities (Art. 12.1.b). Established in 2009, Education Regulation No. 70 on Inclusive Education provides the opportunity for all students who have physical, emotional, mental and social impairments to obtain education in regular schools. Based on the principles of diversity and non-discrimination, the regulation establishes that each district and city government will implement inclusive education in at least primary school, one junior high school and one secondary education unit, providing the widest opportunities for all participants with physical and/or mental impairments, emotional and/or social disorders, special talents and intelligence (Art. 2).
To eliminate discrimination against women, the Minister of National Education adopted Decree 84/2008 on Guidelines for the Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming in the Education Sector, from the central to provincial and local levels. Gender was also integrated among the activities and key performance indicators of the 2010–14 National Education Strategic Plan.
From 2002 to 2009, a Gender Mainstreaming Programme in the Education Sector was implemented in 33 provinces and 7 municipalities. Within the programme, gender-mainstreaming tools were developed, including gender-responsive textbooks, budget studies and awareness campaigns. The 2015–19 education sector plan intended to increase gender education as part of its strategy actions.
Ethnic and linguistic groups and indigenous groups
The languages and national cultural traits are protected by the Constitution (Art. 32). Law No. 40/2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination recognizes that national education policies must respect pluralism and understand the role of communities (Art. 5). As established in Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System, Bahasa Indonesia is the medium of instruction, while local languages can be used in early years of education if needed (Art. 33).
In relation to the language policy, the government has legalized the use of students’ regional or vernacular languages as means of instruction in order to support the teaching process in kindergarten and in the first three years of primary school level, as regulated in 1950’s Constitution No. 4, Chapter IV, Section 5. As learners’ acquisition of information is considered of primary importance in that phase, ‘if it is deemed necessary’, the language policy is permitted to be applied in rural areas, where the majority of the learners’ daily communicative language is not Bahasa Indonesia, while in the big cities, such as Jakarta, Bahasa Indonesia is used as means of instruction.
People living in rural or remote areas
According to Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System, citizens in remote, isolated and/or disadvantaged areas have the right to receive education with special services (Art. 5). The 2015–19 education sector plan pays particular attention to remote, disadvantaged and extreme areas – so-called 3T areas in terms of education facilities and infrastructure and addressing the issue of teacher shortages.
In 2014, UNICEF began supporting the Rural and Remote Education Initiative in Papua, mainly financed by the Government of Australia. The programme focused on early grade literacy and was carried out in 120 schools in 6 rural districts.
As stated in Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System, scholarships based on merit and/or education grants are provided if families cannot afford education expenses.
Gifted and talented children
While Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System recognizes that learners with proven talent and gifted learners have the right to receive special education, Education Regulation No. 70/2009 on Inclusive Education allows children and youth who have special intelligence potential and/or special talents to receive regular education.
Cooperation across sectors
The 2016 Law on Persons with Disabilities established the National Commission on Persons with Disabilities. The National Human Rights Institution supervises the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities through national complaint mechanisms and provides recommendations accordingly. Disabled persons organizations are engaged in the process of revising the law and of formulating the 2011–13 National Action Plan on Disability. At present, they are also involved in drafting local related regulations.
With reference to gender, a national Working Group on Gender Mainstreaming was set up within the Ministry of Education and Culture following the Ministerial Regulation 84/2008 to roll out an effective mechanism for gender mainstreaming activity in the education sector. In parallel, provincial gender working groups have been established to operate across sectors at local level. Notwithstanding, little collaboration has been reported between the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Religious Affairs in mainstreaming gender equality at all levels.
Concerning the development of Bahasa Indonesia and the vernacular languages, there have been several attempts enforced by the government, including the establishment of the Language Centre (Balai Bahasa) in 1948, the Language and Culture Institute (Lembaga Bahasa dan Budaya) in 1952, the National Centre for Language Development (Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa), and the Language Board (Badan Bahasa). All of these institutions act under the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs is responsible for the provision of religious education.
Cooperation across government levels
Since 2004, the decentralization process has been strengthened, allowing schools to adjust their education plans within the general directions set in the national curriculum. Local authorities are now responsible for teacher management, including paying salaries.
One of the targets of the Master Plan is to enhance ‘the role of provinces, districts and cities in the development of inclusive education and increasing the number and role of cross-sectoral Inclusion Working Groups’, alongside the goal of ‘increasing the role of provincial, district and city local governments in accordance with Law no. 23/2014 concerning regional governance’. This entails issuing a circular about increasing the role of local governments in the delivery of inclusive education in 2019 and 2020, assisting schools in providing inclusive education and supporting special school development teachers in each province, district and city.
Infrastructure and services
Law No. 8/2016 provides the main legal basis for the right to accessibility of people with disabilities (Art. 18). More specifically, Law No. 28/2002 on Buildings as well as Regulation No. 30/2006 on the Technical Requirements for Building Accessibility have included provisions on making public infrastructure and facilities accessible for persons with physical impairments.
The first Indonesian curriculum was the 1947 curriculum known as Rencana Pelajaran (Learning Plans), outlined into three main areas: courses, learning hours and learning materials. It was revised in 1952 and 1964 and was followed by curriculum reform in 1968, 1975, 1984 and 1994. The competence-based curriculum, or the 2004 curriculum, was applied as a response to the structural change of the Indonesian government system from a centralized to a decentralized government, stated in Acts 22 and 25 of 1999 about Otonomi Daerah (local autonomy) or regional autonomy. The 2013 national reform of the curriculum aimed to improve the quality of education provision in public schools and in madrasah. The 2015–19 education sector plan intended to further strengthen the curriculum by, among other approaches, integrating a gender-responsive approach.
With the purpose of developing multilingual education, local Papuan language curricula have been developed over the years. However, the lack of a written language and culture represents a challenge that has not yet been addressed.
Learning materials and ICT
In 2004, the Ministry of Education and Culture developed guidelines for developing gender-responsive instructional materials. To support the new curriculum developed with the reform of 2013, the Ministry has become responsible for the provision of all textbooks.
According to Law 14/2005 on Teachers and Lecturers, all teachers are required to obtain an academic bachelor’s degree and to complete a certification process. The law sets minimum competency standards and introduces incentives for teachers to work in remote areas. Rural schools are not generally understaffed; however, a lack of qualified teachers per class has been reported.
Competences and skills for teachers were standardized in Regulation No. 16/2007 on the Standards and Competence of Teachers, which distinguishes between class teachers, counseling teachers and special tutor teachers in inclusive education schools.
Regulation No. 70/2009 on Inclusive Education further specifies the teacher workforce to be appointed to provide inclusive education. In particular, it allocates at least one special supervisor or one special mentor teacher per inclusive education unit, in the latter case appointed by the city government. Local authorities are responsible for providing continuous professional and competence development in the field of special education for educators and education personnel working in education units providing inclusive education and for assisting them with dedicated counselling.
One of the aims of the Master Plan is to change the attitudes of parents, teachers or school members and other education stakeholders in accepting inclusive education and children with disabilities, alongside the intentions of ‘improving the competence of Special Supervising teachers‘ and fulfilling ’the needs of Special Teacher and education personnel in inclusive schools’.
As regards gender, training modules and materials on gender equality have been developed. Within the ELOIS project, a subcomponent of LAPIS financed by Australia, gender-inclusive training was applied in participating universities dealing with teaching and learning materials, management, lesson planning according to a gender equality perspective, and gender and inclusion in Islam.
As established by Law No. 8/2016 on Persons with Disabilities (Chapter 7), national and local authorities are requested to collect data on persons with disabilities, including the type of impairments. At present, multiple definitions of disability and different methodologies and procedures have produced varied results, with the additional challenge of collecting data in remote and outermost areas.
Monitoring represents one of the core components of the Master Plan to ‘assess the level of understanding and how to provide understanding that has an impact on increasing inclusive education participation’ (Table 4: Development strategy).