This month’s Indonesia Banget is a bit special. One of Indonesia banget’s regular reader, Sungin1 asked this question in one of his comment:
If it doesn’t be a hassle to you could you write a simple post about your educational system. I’m interested in different systems
As a teacher myself, it’s not a difficult question and very easy to answer 😉
Indonesia is no different to other countries in term of study level.
It started with kindergarten, we call it as Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK). At my time, kindergarten was only a place to play and have fun, however things have changed now… Kids have to study numbers and letters here because Elementary requires ability to read. I think this new system is terrible! Forcing kids to read that fast is just terrible, is like taking away their happy childhood.
Elementary is called Sekolah Dasar (SD) (translation: Basic School). I learned how to count and read in the beginning of elementary but now, you can’t enter good elementary if you can’t read. It is said that it’s for the children’s sake. What ever happen to happy childhood memory? Nowadays elementary has taught things that I found useless. In my own opinion, they should teach how to socialize better and be a good kid in this school period but instead of that they keep making the lesson harder than it already is. Sekolah Dasar has period of 6 years.
The next level is Junior High School which we call as Sekolah Menegah Pertama (SMP) (translation: First Middle School) where students have to study for 3 years. At this level students are still studying Science and social study as a whole package. At my time, we learned English at this level but nowadays, students have learned English since kindergarten.
Senior High School comes next, we call it Sekolah Menegah Atas (SMA) (Translation: Upper Middle School). Just like SMP, SMA has 3 year period. At this level, students have broader study. Both Science and Social Study are divided into more detail study. Science is now divided into Biology, Physic and Chemistry where are Social Study into history, geography, accountancy and economy. On their first year, students must learn all of those lesson but on second grade they must choose to either enter class that focus more on Science Study or on Social Study or on Language Study. Most schools only provide 2 classes, Science and Social.
Beside SMA, there is also another kind of school that has the same level as SMA, it is called Sekolah Menegah Kejuruan (SMK) (translation: Vocational Middle School). SMK is more for students who wanted to find job after leaving Middle School, they can still go to University but they are also already have skill to work. SMK has many major where students can choose based on their interest. I am currently teaching at Pharmaceutical Vocational School where the students are being prepared to work at pharmacy and other company related to drugs. There are also SMK for being a cook, a tour guide, a tailor, an accountant, and many more. However, their level of skill is of course different to those who then go to university.
The last Education level is College or University. We have D-3, a 3 year study and S-1, a 4-5 year study. D-3 is a bachelor while S-1 is graduate student. We call master program as S-2 and doctoral program as S-3.
A Uniform Country
I kinda consider my country as uniform country because all students have to wear uniform. Only college students are free from uniform. Even the international school wear uniform (although there are still some international school that don’t use uniform).
TK’s uniform depends on the school and has no similarity between each school.
SD, SMP and SMA which belong to government use the same uniform all over Indonesia. Even most private school also wear the same uniform. However you can also find some private school which don’t use same uniform.
SD wear White and Red uniform like the color of our flag. The boys are wearing short pants while the girls are wearing short skirt that goes below their knees. Some already use long skirt. The skirt has many folds
SMP wear White and Blue uniform. The boys are still wearing short pants, but some schools already tell their students to wear long pants. The girls are wearing either short skirt with two folds on left and right side or long skirt. (both images belong to rinaldimunir.wordpress.com)
SMA wear White and grey uniform. The boys are now wearing long pants and the girls are also wearing long skirt. However, some school are still allowing the girl to wear short skirt as long as the skirt is below their knees. The skirt now has one folded part, it’s in the middle. (Finally, the photo belongs to me 🙂 )
As I have mentioned earlier, some private schools wear different uniforms. Those three uniforms above are the common uniform you can find anywhere in the country. Here is an example of private school’s uniform, it’s from my vocational school.
What’s interesting about Indonesia’s uniform is BATIK! I will talk more about batik later. Just in brief, batik is one of Indonesian most important heritage. It’s a traditional pattern. All school have to wear Batik Uniform and the pattern is different from one school to another.
What fascinated me is that international schools are also wearing batik. I taught Science Experiment as an extracurricular activities in some international school and so happy to see that their schools are still honoring Indonesian tradition.
Other School Related Talks
This last part is for things related to school but I can’t categorize it like the previous two parts 🙂
- School in Indonesia is divided into 2 terms, first semester and second semester or odd semester and even semester. School year starts on July. First semester ends on December and second semester starts on January.
- Between each semester, we have a two weeks holiday.
- We do not have summer holiday or spring holiday or any of those climate holiday because we only have two seasons which don’t really matter to school activity.
- No such thing as popular kids and nerdy. The smartest one in the class is never being avoided like in Hollywood movies.
- Bullying rarely happen, unlike schools in Japan.
- Sometimes, two schools fight against each other for small matters (you know how teenager is!). This incident is called Tawuran. We are still trying to avoid this incident. I can gladly say that the number of Tawuran has decreased compared to my time at school.
That’s all I can share for now. Feel free to ask more about schools in Indonesia 🙂
You might also like to know National Education Day and the father of Education in my previous post.