Education Notes is a series produced by the World Bank to share lessons learned from innovative approaches to improving education practice and policy around the globe. Background work for this piece was done in partnership, with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Indonesia has seen vast improvements in
access to education over the past thirty years. It is a good
example of a country that has followed a disciplined linear
approach to EFA: Indonesia focused first on primary school
access, next on lower secondary school access, and is only
now attempting to address key policy issues to improve
learning outcomes. However, many long-established precedents
that have a negative impact on quality are proving very hard
to change. Indonesia's struggles to improve quality
demonstrate the importance of tackling such issues from the
very beginning, as initial efforts are put in place to
expand access. The Indonesia school system is characterized
by startling contradictions. It has seen great gains in
primary and lower secondary enrollment as a result of strong
political will, but educational quality remains very low.
The school year in Grades 3-6 is among the longest in the
world (over 1400 hours annually for single shift
classrooms), but the potential impact of this extraordinary
effort is lost in part because the school year in Grades 1
and 2 is among the shortest in the world (under 500 hours
annually in most cases).