Both school financial management and entrepreneurship are acknowledged as important competencies to acquire for school principals in Indonesia. Appropriate school financial management is important to ensure school funds are spent efficiently and effectively to support the provision of quality education services. Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, incorporates values such as leadership, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness that are necessary to develop their schools, supervise their teachers and education personnel, as well as and effectively address future challenges.
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of these two competencies in the face of adversity. For example, while schools have been given an increase in flexibility to utilize the School Operational Assistance according to their school’s individual needs, this also implies that the freedom comes with responsibility to manage their funds appropriately. In addition, schools, especially those catering to low-income families, also faced financial challenges due to the low-enrollment. This demonstrates the need to implement entrepreneurship practices to respond to these challenges.
Unfortunately, many school principals and education personnel in Indonesia lack the necessary school financial management and entrepreneurship skills. A presurvey with 23 Early Childhood Education (ECE) school principals and education personnel in Southwest Sumba revealed that the majority of respondents (88%) have not received any form of training on school financial management and entrepreneurship. At the same time, they have also expressed the need to acquire basic financial management skills (e.g. bookkeeping) as well as entrepreneurship practices to improve and sustain their school operations.
In September and November 2021, school financial management and entrepreneurship capacity building training were offered to school principals and education personnels from six low cost private ECEs in Southwest Sumba. Following the program, the participants applied the financial management practices taught, such as profit-loss statements, in order to improve the accuracy of their financial reporting. Furthermore, all schools increased their fundraising activities by establishing their own small businesses using entrepreneurship principles introduced during the training sessions.
The outcomes of the capacity building training demonstrates the importance of attaining financial management and entrepreneurship knowledge and skills among school principals and education personnel. Using financial management and entrepreneurship skills, school principals and education personnels are able to become more resilient and adaptive, especially in the face of sudden changes.
The development of these competencies should be prioritized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology. This can be achieved through the new school principals and education personnel empowerment bodies, BBGP (Balai Besar Guru Penggerak) and BGP (Balai Guru Penggerak). In addition, the local education agencies should also facilitate the development of entrepreneurial practices such as supporting school principals to foster relations and engagements with other education stakeholders and the local communities.