Rainbow After Hurricane: Controversy on 2013 Indonesian Curriculum

Who will not get drowsy of looking ahead the surprising change in curriculum projected by the ministry of education? 2013 Curriculum, or so-called K-13 was frankly spoken to be one piloted ideal curriculum that has dramatically shifted for short time to time. It had to be liable for sparking prolonged suffering debates among education practitioners for any reasons. Politically, some proponents to K-13 boastfully extended many ideal arguments come from the policy maker over the opponents who cons the case. The cons did not mean to reject fully but a spectrum of unsupportive conditions they claimed government so forgetful about that.


Many schools had reported that they could not afford the curriculum even since the first-wave of the implementation. More urgently, many teachers in middle-low schools, main players for the curriculum, felt inadequate for technical unsupportive environments.


The curriculum shifted quickly from time to time. Teachers who were not able to follow the procedures of the curriculum found the phenomenon as another hindrance toward real improvement instead. One they could not reach, another long-jump they have to pursue, so agony.


Leave the controversies aside, yesterday was probably a very wonderful day attending an event held by UNESA (State University of Surabaya) for professional English teachers and those who are concerned with education especially ELT (English Language Teaching). I was tremendously glad to listen to Mrs. Kumalarini, one of the senior lecturers English Department UNESA who is considered as expert in the trend of curriculum in Indonesia. As if the heavy rain is immediately going to be finished in no time. She talked under title of current trends and policies on K-13 and its implication on ELT in Indonesia.


Along with Mrs. Kumalarini talk, she had brought a glad tiding probably for whole attendees in that Teacher’s Best Practice UNESA. Outspokenly, this glad tiding must be a good news too for all teacher in Indonesia. She had frankly and warmly explained that we (teacher) are no longer required compulsorily to what was in mind of other people (government or policy maker). We will move onto more practical state where authority of direction of classroom will be on us as the teacher. To make the long story short, I wanted to share this glad tiding into at least some points as follow:


  1. The shifting paradigm from rigid teaching policy to teacher-friendly policy

Education and teaching goal is always for better future so that every policy or decision made by the government is of course supposed to ease and to promote betterment. However, sometimes a good intention might inevitably be perceived and responded badly or even worse. But no longer, the rigid teaching policy which has tried to secure the quality of teaching by ordering teacher to stick to the framework of teaching the central educational government generated. The new policy is more likely teacher-friendly because every teacher does not have to worry anymore about the sensitive-boundaries, the sacrosanct in which now they have been unlocked.


Teachers are now promoted and provided broader way to pursue better outcome since they are the driver over the teaching direction and destination. The set-free policy indeed might have a better impact on whole education that is grounded in the classroom. As English teacher is of course suffering by the rigid approach or superficially benchmark to contradict the nature acquisition of language. Teaching language had to be better running in its nature in any way.


  1. The promotion of creative teacher

Instead of providing rigid instruction, government now epitomizes the present curriculum and its devices to spark creativity of the teacher, to inspire the teacher become more creative. Before K-13 age that rigidly suggest teachers to use scientific approach (SA), Curriculum 2006 or what people miscalled it as so-called KTSP teachers who used to implement Genre Based Approach (GBA) can do this again by now. It is now strongly recommended that teacher mixes one another approach just in case, as long SA and GBA is at heart of the teaching. The teacher can also creatively comprise project based learning or problem based learning to befriend the main approach. In a nutshell, professional teacher is now hoped to be more creative in the strategy of teaching as they know what best approach and method to his/her students.



  1. Loosening the complexity, shaping the manageable inspiring one

Teacher is oriented to light up the class by a vibrant teaching process, not as test-giver or even an administration-staff. The contemporary gossip among teachers is the long-grunts about the process of administration at which teacher has to do lots of complex preparation before teaching. This issue was important but somehow perceived trivial in any perspective so that such operational must exist nonetheless it is idling. Pedagogically, it is proven that the perfectionist-administration (e.g. lesson plan, etc.) does not reflect to the real performance of the teacher in the classroom context. Moreover, the rigid sacrosanct significantly created barrier between conceptual understanding of Education ministry and its application in the concrete classroom context which is teacher must-and-only one who better understand the situation.


It is now more flexible and manageable that teacher may involve more than one strategy if needing to pursue better education for the students. The implication, any governmental issue related to teaching policy and devices such as book, syllabus, and any others are now in purpose of inspiring teacher to formulate better scenario for the students. Becoming more manageable now, it is because before the revision, technically, number to indicate between KD (Basic Competence) and KI (Core Competence) is sometimes confusing, but now it is straightforward. The same number will indicate the same competence inherit. Another encouraging shift is the direct teaching of character will not be burdening any teachers but religion subject teacher. The other teachers will still be required to do so but indirectly.


To enclose this article, the writer is supposed to acknowledge that the present article is purely articulated over writer’s mind and memory upon the glad tidings. Hopefully, this news can be realized likely a rainbow after the hurricane or just a heavy rain over the controversy by the public. The ministry of education boastfully targets in 2019, if those new trends and policies revised implemented as it supposed to be, at least 40% of whole educational sectors will tribute to surprising change over all educational outcome. All of the staggering process against curriculum is everything but us as teachers are the dominating players after all.


Largely inspired by:

Dra. Th. Kumalarini, M.Pd., senior lecturer English Department UNESA, Current Trends and Policies on K-13 and the implication on ELT in Indonesia.

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