21 November, 2016

Traditional and digital literacy

 Traditional and digital literacy
by. Handi Kurniawan


Indonesia ranks 60th out of 61 countries surveyed for the list of “World’s Most Literate Nations”. While we are working toward improving “traditional” literacy, which in brief is defined as the ability to read, write and do simple arithmetic, the world has been moving toward “digital” literacy.

The survey caught the attention of US educators as well. America used to be No. 1, but in the past few years Nordic countries have overtaken it, with Finland consistently on top and the US in seventh place. It is interesting to hear comments from fellow educators in the US, who say the rankings shouldn’t be exaggerated because the US educational system is different from that of Finland — for example, in terms of size and homogeneity.

In fact there is no centralized educational system in the US as each state implements its own, which means there are 50 different educational systems.

This reminds me of a comment about the Singapore educational system, which is said to be easily managed because of the country’s size. I would imagine that if every province in Indonesia was committed to the improvement of education, the national educational system would collectively get better, but this will not work. The reality is Singapore and South Korea have managed to transform their poor systems into two of the best in the world thanks to their economies.

Why is literacy important? John Miller has an answer. He says, “Knowledge has always been associated with influence, power and economic success. And literacy has always been the essential vehicle for the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge and literacy created power in the world. Advantages, both financial and otherwise, were afforded to those who could read and thus acquire, organize and use knowledge.”

In the knowledge-based economy, the educated and literate human resources who possess critical thinking and are creative and innovative could help Indonesia reach the same level of respect as other developed and civilized nations in the world.

Indonesia is still struggling to address the challenges in equality, accessibility and quality facing its educational system. So which one do we need to prioritize? Providing accessibility to education, or accelerating digital literacy? I would assume if this question was raised with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, his answer would be to prioritize both.

What is digital literacy? Does WhatsApping, learning from YouTube, or posting in social media constitute digital literacy? With search engines like Google, acquiring information could be much easier. With regards to education, it further emphasizes the importance of “understanding” over “memorization”.

Technology has enabled education and enriched the alternatives to the way people learn.

Nobel laureate Herbert Simon said in 1996 that the meaning of “knowing” had shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it.

I would suggest that the most important literacy in the knowledge-based economy is how to find, select and use knowledge productively. The main purpose of education needs to shift from passing the standardized test to developing learners’ potential, teach them how to learn sustainably and to unleash their fullest strengths.

With digital literacy, more people will be participating in the current knowledge-based economy. Our government, academics and businesses need to work together so we can narrow the gap between the economy and education. To reach the goal three things need to be done.

First, an independent body under the education minister needs to be established to develop and execute a “literacy transformation strategy” by involving all policymakers, educators, literacy enthusiast across Indonesia. This independent institution should create a shared vision, manage the direction and cultivate all good ideas from the grassroots and unheard voices.

Second, the quality of educators should be continuously improved by providing professional development, better quality control and increasing the standards of certification.

Research shows that students who have more effective teachers will learn much more compared to those who have less effective teachers. Educators should be the facilitators of leveraging new technology and digital literacy to students. In so doing, teachers and students can grow together.

Third, wisdom should be exercised in responding to technology, given the fact that people are merely consumers of new technology.

In the 1920s Thomas Edison predicted movies would forever change the way people learn and that printed books would no longer be needed, but on the contrary, printed books still exist.

There is a fundamental difference between technology now and then, but let’s be wise in understanding technology, its impact and its future use.

Digital literacy offers speed, convenience, economical sense and availability in a larger scale, but there is no “one size fits all” solution with regards to technology.

As Arne Duncan, former US secretary of education said: “If the technology revolution only happens for families that already have money and education, then it’s not really a revolution.”







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20 November, 2016

Pentingannya Pengembangan Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini Sebagai Investasi Masa Depan Bangsa

 Growing brains can grow economies in Asia
by. Lauren Rumble


A billion brains depend on the actions governments and partners take now. The world’s best scientists have recently confirmed that greater investments are needed to promote children’s “cognitive capital”. Cognitive capital refers to the economic benefits resulting from investing in the evolving brains of children. 

Nobel Laureate James Heckman says that early investments yield the greatest returns: a dollar spent during prenatal and early childhood yields 7 percent to 10 percent more than investments at older ages. During the first years of life, one thousand brain cells connect every second. 

These connections define a child’s capacity to learn and regulate impulses and emotions. They influence the ability to solve problems and relate to others. To capitalize on these investments we need to secure nutrition, healthcare as well as safe and loving families for all children. 

This requires ensuring universal access to education, healthcare, sanitation and nutrition as well as freedom from poverty and fear for every child. 

The reverse is also true. Adverse conditions are harmful to brain development and cognitive performance. Chronic neglect — such as that experienced by children in institutional care — has been shown to be highly disruptive to the brain architecture. This places lifelong limits on the development of skills that are necessary to succeed in school and adulthood. 

Last week, with the support of UNICEF, 29 governments from across the region gathered in Kuala Lumpur to share efforts to promote children’s cognitive capital. Indonesia was invited to share its experience in implementing the world’s largest national health insurance scheme (JKN). Launched in 2014, the JKN already covers nearly two thirds of the country’s 255 million people. 

As described by deputy minister Subandi of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), the head of the delegation, Indonesia’s goal is to cover the entire population by 2019, which would help to reduce child mortality, a critical target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

Still, there are challenges. Roughly 90 million people are not yet enrolled, mostly from the informal sector. This includes some of the country’s most vulnerable children. At 1.5 percent of GDP and just 5 percent of the national budget, Indonesia spends less on health than its neighbors. Out-of-pocket spending is still too high, creating financial hardship for families.

Furthermore, chronic disease care for the elderly has led to billion dollar deficits in the system. Additional resources and prioritizing investments in children will both be essential for maximizing returns in cognitive capital.

The meeting urged governments in the region to accelerate efforts to invest in universal health care and social protection for all children. To improve service coverage and reduce costs to families, countries should allocate at least 3 to 5 percent of their GDP to public health spending.

Social protection efforts should be unconditionally linked to social service access. High level leadership must also be mobilized to prevent violence before it starts. Laws and policies must be enforced to end all forms of violence, and services must be made available to all victims.

Biology is not destiny. Policymakers in the region face vital choices for future economic growth and prosperity of their countries. Investments in children, particularly in the earliest years, generate long-term intergenerational effects on development and yield dividends that can finally eradicate inequality and deprivation. 

With nearly half of the world’s children living in Asia and the Pacific, consensus amongst policymakers in this region to act now for children will make all the difference.

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13 August, 2016

Full Day School

Full Day School
by. Icam Sutisna


Pada kesempatan kali ini saya akan berusaha menulis tentang isu hangat yang sedang diperbincangkan dimasyarakat mengenai sekolah sehari penuh (full day school). Untuk mempersingkat penulisan, istilah sekolah sehari penuh (full day school) saya singkat menjadi FDS. Munculnya ide FDS ini bermula dari idenya Menteri Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan yang baru diangkat oleh Presiden Jokowi sebagai pengganti Anis baswedan yaitu Mundjir Efendy. Munculnya ide FDS yang dikemukan menteri tersebut tentu tidak berdiri sendiri, artinya ide tersebut Ia kemukakan dalam rangka mendukung program Nawacita yang selama ini diusung oleh presiden Jokowi. Setidaknya itu yang saya tangkap dari berbagai informasi yang beredar di media berita yang ada sampai saat ini. Ide FDS ini diharapakan dapat mendukung program Nawacita melalui media Pendidikan dengan harapan dapat merubah atau membentuk karakater anak bangsa menjadi lebih kokoh berdasarkan nilai-nilai budaya yang ada di masyarakat Indonesia.

Namun sayang baru saja ide tersebut diutarakan ke khalayak sudah menimbulkan polemik didalam masyarakat. Saya mengamati ada tiga kelompok masyarakat yang terlibat polemik dari gagasan FDS ini, yaitu: Pertama kelompok yang tidak setuju. Kalau saya perhatikan kelompok ini cukup banyak suaranya, mereka ini datang dari berbagai lapisan masyarakat. Banyak artikel yang mereka tulis diberbagai media berita online untuk menyatkan ketidak setujuannya atas ide FDS tersebut, dengan berbagai dasar mereka kemukakan kelemahan sistem FDS apabila diterpakan diantaranya yaitu semakin terbatasnya orang tua untuk berinteraksi secara langsung dengan anak, karena waktu anak dihabiskan disekolah. Kedua kelompok yang setuju. Pada kelompok ini saya belum menemukan artikel yang membahas berbagai dasar mereka menyetujui ide FDS tersebut, namun saya hanya menemukan tulisan secara viral namun itu hanya sekedar memberikan komparasi dengan sistem pendidikan yang sudah ada, misalanya sistem pendidikan di Pesantren yang notabene menerapakan FDS atau bahkan 24 jam aktifitas siswa diatur melalui kurikulum sekolah. Ketiga kelompok yang setuju tetapi dengan syarat. Nah kelompok ini memberikan isyarakat kesetujuannya atas ide FDS tetapi dengan syarat-syarat yang harus dipenuhi, misalnya fasilitas pendidikan yang harus diperbaiki, anggaran pendidikan kesekolah perlu diperhatikan, gaji guru juga perlu diperhatikan. Untuk sebagian kalangan kelompok ketiga ini menyebutukan pendidikan sudah seperti adanya transaksional.

Ketiga kelompok masyarakat yang saya kemukakan diatas terkait tanggapanya terhadap ide FDS, menurut saya hal yang wajar karena setiap masing-masing individu mempunyai cara berpikir dan cara pandang yang berbeda-beda sesuai dengan kadar pengalamanya. Bagi yang kontra tentu bagi dia ide FDS tersebut tidak baik karena masih ada cara lain yang dapat digunakan untuk membentuk karakter anak bangsa. Bagi yang setuju ia menganggap ide tersebut bukan hal  yang baru karena pengalamanya di lingkungan yang menerapakan sistem FDS selama ini tidak ada permasalahan.

Lalu bagaimana pendapat saya tentang FDS pro atau kontra? pada kesempatan ini saya tidak akan masuk wilayah pro atau kontra terhadap ide tersebut. Menurut saya bukan hal yang subtantif mendukung atau tidak ide FDS. Soalnya semua orang akan berpandangan yang beragam tentang hal tersebut dengan alasan seperti yang saya kemukakan diatas. Menurut saya yang terpenting harus dilihat adalah ide dasar munculnya gagasan tersebut, berdasarkan informasi yang saya ketahui dari berbagai media ide tersebut muncul untuk memujudkan Nawacita yang diusung Presiden Jokowi. Merubah dan membentuk karakter anak bangsa itu orientasinya.

Pembentukan karakter bangsa melalui penanaman nilai-nilai terhadap anak disekolah (bersambung........)





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