Addressing Distance Learning Barriers in Indonesia Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

Nadia Fairuza Azzahra
Policy brief Center for Indonesian Policy Studies • May 2020 Indonesia

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(English, 8 pages)


Key Messages:

- The rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has created a disruption in Indonesia’s education sector as around 45 million students are unable to continue their learning activity in schools.

- The Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) need to consider distance learning approaches that are adjusted to regional characteristics. Distance learning exacerbates barriers of vulnerable students to access education, so diversification of the delivery medium beyond the Internet should be considered. Options may include radio programs or postal services for regions with low connectivity.

- Local governments need to take on a more active role in aiding the schools than initiatives by the central government. In addition to using existing School Operational Assistance (Bantuan Operasional Sekolah/BOS) funds, local education authorities need to provide schools with further financial support and technical assistance, such as access to recording studios and equipment, to accelerate their adoption of distance learning. Such assistance should not neglect private community schools.

- Indonesia needs to embark on a large-scale capacity building program to better execute distance learning across regions. This requires updating the strategy and supervision on BOS utilization, upgrading capacities of school principals and allowing them to assume greater autonomy at schools, and equipping teachers with hard and soft skills for distance learning.

- The Covid-19 crisis demonstrates a need for large-scale public-private partnerships between relevant ministries (MOEC and MORA) and telecommunication and hardware providers. This builds on existing infrastructure to spread distance learning across the archipelago.





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