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Academic Year Begins, Most Student Learning From Home

Academic Year Begins, Most Student Learning From Home

Monday 13th July marks the first day of the new academic year 2020/21 for Indonesian primary and secondary schools.

In a change from previous years, schools are reopening with a different paradigm, with learning from home being the new normal due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Study options vary depending on the facilities that the school has and the regional security level during the pandemic. Some areas are beginning to introduce face-to-face learning, for example in Sukabumi, West Java, since this area has been designated a Green Zone.

“High schools and junior high schools are allowed to open first. Once those go well, elementary schools will soon follow,” said West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil through an Instagram account.

He explained that face-to-face learning during the pandemic only runs for four to five hours, with no break time and students are required to return home immediately after school time. Classes are also divided into shifts, with two to three shifts in each class. Students’ admission schedules alternate for a week or two, so not all students are in the classroom every day.

Even so, most of the schools in Bandung, West Java, and DKI Jakarta are still learning from home because these areas are not yet considered safe by the Acceleration Task Force Handling Covid-19 and have not been declared Green Zones.

Head of the Bandung Education Office, Hikmat Ginanjar, said students will follow the school environment introduction period (MPLS) over the next three days. This MPLS is used to introduce the school environment to students from the headmaster, teachers, education personnel, and others.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of DKI Jakarta, Ahmad Riza Patria, declared the opening of educational institutions in the territory will start with universities, followed by schools’ reopening. The process will be completed gradually.

“Schools are the last activities to initiate. It will evidently reopen but done gradually. Therefore universities are reopening first,” said Riza.

Schools are still not open because the government is still worried about the possibility of students being exposed to the coronavirus, therefore the new school year will begin in a virtual environment.

The Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim, projected that at least 94 percent of students in Indonesia are still learning from home in the new school year. The areas that can open schools are only those within Green Zones that meet a number of conditions.

In this case, the Ministry of Education and Culture suggests that teachers perform an assessment and test students’ skills when they start school face-to-face to let students catch up with their education in the middle of the pandemic.

Remote Areas

Entering the new school year, there are still a number of teachers claiming to not get referrals and supplies so they can conduct classes from home. The claims come primarily from those who are in remote areas of the country.

Learning from home has been implemented for over three months now but it has many problems, ranging from facility access to an internet connection. “We are still confused about how to teach with the limitations that we have,” said Adimo, an elementary school teacher at SD Negeri 08 in South Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi.

He said the teachers in his area rarely got training on how to do learning from home in the middle of a pandemic. Because of limitations, they are also forced to visit students’ homes on their own initiative.

Likewise, Ridwan, an elementary school teacher at SD Negeri 016 Muara Muntai in Kutai Kartanegara Regency, East Kalimantan, said the education office has actually made educational videos for teaching during the pandemic. The video is uploaded online but not all teachers in the area can access the internet well due to network constraints and lack of facilities.

“The budget allocation for quotas from the School Operational Assistance Fund (BOS funds) alone is not the way because many don’t know this policy exists due to minimal socialisation,” he said.

This refers to Nadiem’s policies that permit the use of BOS funds for the quota and financing of learning from home.

Source: CNN Indonesia

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